Limo Drivers: Using GPS Systems Safely

Taking your eyes off the road to read a GPS display, even for a few seconds, can be a very dangerous distraction.

The use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), for limo drivers and non-limo drivers alike, has grown steadily across the country over the past few years. However, the increase in reliance on these GPS devices has also created some problems that have led to accidents, lost drivers and drivers finding themselves stuck on streets too narrow to navigate safely, especially when driving an over-sized vehicle. Much like using online map services like Mapquest or Google Maps, seemingly good directions aren’t always that accurate, send you through circuitous routes and sometimes, don’t give you the whole picture of what you’re driving into.

Many state legislatures have growing concerns that drivers can become very reliant on GPS commands and displays, to the point at which they might lose focus on the road and forsake safe driving basics. Taking your eyes off the road to read a GPS display, even for a few seconds, can be a very dangerous distraction. Following GPS directions without looking ahead to ensure the road is clear to safely make a turn can lead to hitting fixed objects or pedestrians. Drivers should be careful to not allow the convenience and ease of use of a GPS to lull them into following commands without applying the fundamentals of safe driving before they respond.

It should also be noted that GPS devices often provide directions and information about exiting and turning shortly before the need to make the actual maneuver without accounting for the size, turning radius and length of time needed for a larger vehicle to complete the suggested move.

Auto manufacturers have come up with “Augmented Navigation Displays”   which put GPS information and other road information directly onto the windshield. The objective is to minimize your loss of visual contact with the road and create a safer drive. The devices have begun appearing in the latest model automobiles.

Some other basic rules to remember when using GPS devices are:

  • Don’t program the GPS while moving. Instead, enter your destination BEFORE starting your vehicle. If you need to change your destination, pull over where it’s safe and legal to do so.
  • Learn to rely on the voice directions, with an occasional glance at the map, much as you would look at the speedometer or other instrument, to confirm or preview turns. Keep your focus on your driving.

Finally, never depend solely on a GPS device.  No matter what type of commercial vehicle device you use, the map data is not always 100% accurate.  As a professional
limo driver, you’re still responsible for obeying all road signs, bridge heights and restricted areas and following safe driving rules.