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Majority of Drivers Say GPS Has Led Them Astray

Car GPS
Flickr.com / Dittmeyer

GPS has certainly taken the pressure off drivers — males mostly — from having to ask for directions when they don’t know where they’re going, but a new survey reveals the technology is often inaccurate.

A survey of 2,220 adults conducted by Harris Interactive for Michelin Travel and Lifestyle finds 63 percent say GPS has led them astray at least once by pointing them in the wrong direction or creating confusing and complex travel routes.

Overall, drivers who use GPS say it has taken them off track an average of 4.4 times. Younger drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 say they have been misdirected by GPS an average of 6.3 times. Seven percent of U.S. drivers who use GPS have been led off of the main road by the technology more than ten times.

The survey also finds that GPS is the primary travel aid for 30 percent of U.S. adults, but it ranks second to a combination of resources that includes maps, printed directions and guide books. That combination of physical resources is relied on primarily by nearly 40 percent of Americans who travel to unfamiliar destinations.

The survey found that 19 percent of drivers rely on a Smartphone or tablet device, while six percent say they rely on verbal directions they get from locals. Three percent say they rely on nothing at all to find their way around unfamiliar locations.

Using GPS is most popular in the Northeast, with 35 percent of drivers using it to navigate.  Just 25 percent of drivers in the West rely primarily on GPS. 46 percent of U.S. drivers still keep road maps and atlases in their vehicles.

More men are likely to use GPS in their cars over women – 35% to 26% respectfully. Especially if going to a new location for the first time.

Do you use the GPS system provided in your car? Or, do you rely on your smartphone? Maybe you still use a map or atlas?

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