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In-Car Navigation Systems Too Distracting? 265

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the don't-look-at-the-light dept.
Lam1969 writes "A survey released by an insurance company shows that drivers with in-car navigation systems are more likely to lose concentration than drivers who unfold a map while driving. From the article: 'One in 10 motorists with navigation systems set off on their journeys without bothering to program their route, and more than half admitted that they then had to take their eyes off the road to input the details while driving. Nearly one in eight did not even bother to check out a route they were unfamiliar with and simply relied on the technology to get them to their destination.'"
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In-Car Navigation Systems Too Distracting?

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  • dashboard diplays (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aliscool (597862) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:35PM (#14773135)
    OK, completely different technology. Similar premise. On vacation with my parents last December... My dad has a new Prius hybrid. He was so worried about that magic display in the center of the dash that showed his real time gas milegae that he was a damn hazard on the road. I very smoothly asked if I could drive the mighty hybrid for a while, much to his chagrin I drove us home most of the way from the airport and completely blew off the gas mileage statistics.
    • by jheath314 (916607) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:08PM (#14773308)
      Actually, the one that really gets my goat is TVs built right into the dashboard. With all the fuss people raised about cell-phones being distracting, I have no idea how auto manufacturers managed to slip this one under the radar. (In theory the TV is supposed to be off unless the vehicle is in park, but the safety switch is easy to disable and many ethically challenged auto shops will do it for you.) How any sane government could have let this pass regulations just blows my mind.

      OTOH, maybe they did it on purpose. GM: Better Drivers through Darwinian Selection.
      • The problem is, rather than just weeding out the stupid, they are very likely to take someone driving appropriately out with them. Darwinian logic only keeps the species going, it has nothing to do with the intelligence of the species. Stupid people are more likely to breed, and more likely to kill other people. Sadly, intelligence is an endangered trait.
        • The problem is, rather than just weeding out the stupid, they are very likely to take someone driving appropriately out with them.
          This is true, but I would think that the drivers of the cars causing these accidents are the most likely to be killed. Thus, there are more incapable drivers dying than capable ones, ultimately resulting in a better ratio of capable to incapable drivers. Plus it reduces the total number of drivers on the road, making driving even safer. Right?
          • Not really... it seems that in most cases of drunk driving, if anyone is killed, it's someone sober. I don't see why nav systems and TVs (which, by the way, are almost never installed in a location such that they can be seen by the front seat) would be any different.
    • What many folks are looking for is Star Trek like technology that will just do it for them. Heck, I've had people ask me if Celestia [shatters.net] was using realtime graphics for their pictures of Saturn. So why should it surpise me that people would use technology unintelligently?

      Like this hasn't happened before [rinkworks.com]. Ever.

      • If they had asked you about the realtime pictures of Uranus, you should have worried even more...
        /sorry, had to be said
    • Re:dashboard diplays (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xmundt (415364) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:46AM (#14774472)
      Greetings and Salutations...
                While I certainly agree about the system status display of the Prius,
      I would have to say that the negatives of the GPS system are FAR outweighed
      by the positives. Having had the pleasure of using one for a while, I
      find it painful NOT to have.
              Things that are good about the systems:
                1) the voice navigation prompts are very useful, and, while not absolutely precise, are close enough to make navigation much less painful.
                2) The ability to locate nearby points of interest and get immediate directions to it (restaurants, parts stores, etc).
                3) The increase in safety from not having to keep referring to a printed map or directions to find a new place.
                4) I, for one, find it stressful to be driving through twisty country roads that I have never been on, with no clear map in my head as to where I am at, and how far I am from turns, etc. The GPS navigation unit removes much of that stress.
                5) The ability to nearly instantly reroute to avoid obstructions, traffic jams, etc.
                6) (with SOME units) the ability to update internal maps with current information on road conditions, etc, so, routes can be planned to avoid obstructions.
                7) Frankly, it is just a REALLY cool gadget...and that is worth something.

                I would agree that, as with many new toys, it can be slightly distracting
      at first, but, I found that it rapidly became a background tool for me, so
      while I would glance at the screen for intersections, etc, I did not stare
      at it for long periods of time. We are, after all, adults, and need to
      act like adults...not like gawking children (shocking as that thought might
      be). This also means that we need to use the GPS as an auxilary tool, and
      not the sole control piloting the vehicle. It is a data tool that needs
      to be used with common sense... It has, a few times, gotten confused about
      what direction the one-way streets ran and such, but, I realized this, and
      simply went a block or so down from it, and picked up the route again...easy
      enough to deal with.
                Regards
                Dave Mundt

  • by ZiakII (829432) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:36PM (#14773143)
    Nearly one in eight did not even bother to check out a route they were unfamiliar with and simply relied on the technology to get them to their destination.

    This is different how? Compared to people just using Mapquest to get where they need to be.
    • by Aardpig (622459) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:57PM (#14773255)
      How about the navigation software telling them to turn into a one-way street, driving the wrong way? I have an acquaintance who drives like this, blindly following the software without actually reading the road. It scares the hell out of me.
      • ... from a few years back that drove into a river? He was wtching the nav display and did not notice that the bridge was up.

        Technology & safety devices don't really make cars safer. People drive to a certain level of risk. If you surround them with airbags they feel more safe and drive more sloppily.

        Making cars more dangerous would make things safer, IMHO. Mount a 12 inch spike on the steeringwheel. That should focus the driver's attention!

    • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:32PM (#14773449) Journal
      So, I've got a Garmin Streetpilot 2610. Last year I drove from Mountain View (where I live) to Las Vegas, without any maps, purely by putting (I think 3) waypoints - ("yes, I do want to go through Death Valley and Yosemite" etc.), a start and an end destination.

      I've done the trip before, but I wouldn't say I was familiar with it, and I tried to see different things this time anyway - we went somewhat out of our way to Monument Valley on the way back, 'cos that's fairly spectacular ...

      The thing performs perfectly - I use it a lot. The confidence it brings when you know it will work out the best route and take you that way is just great. No panic if (when) you miss a junction on a freeway because you were in the wrong lane. No problem if you miss a turn in a city you don't know. I can't praise the thing enough.

      My parents came over to visit - never been to the US before. Because I had to work that week, they went on a trip down the coast, with the GPS guiding them all the way. 10 minutes instruction was all it took to get them started, and they were experts after a few days, putting their own waypoints in etc. You have to understand that my parents really *are* VCR-challenged...

      I'd never try and put in directions when the car was moving though - just pull over, type the details, and drive on afterwards. News-flash: driving without looking at the road (no matter what gizmo is involved) is not a good idea...

      Simon

    • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @11:02PM (#14773595)
      I don't even know what "check out a route" is supposed to mean. Of course you rely on the technology, whether computer or paper-based. (And guess what, the paper maps come from computer maps anyways.)

      Anyways, I use a GPSMap 60CS [garmin.com] with the car kit, and it is a invaluable, especially when driving around a new city in the dark.

      But like anything, you must learn to use it. The GPS tracking itself is extremely accurate, but the maps are somewhat less so. You cannot drive safely or effectively if you watch the GPS too closely, and try to literally trace out your path on the map. Insteaad, you should glance at the GPS and see "OK, I need to get on I-15 going south," and then follow the road signs to do it. You use the GPS to give you knowledge of your next turn, but then you use your eyeballs through the windows to apply it.

      Finally, you must not get a new GPS and set out on unfamiliar roads immediately. You need a little practice in your own neighborhood to instantly understand the displays and work the interface. I wonder if the subjects of this study were novice users of the devices? If so, that's a big limitation of the results.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:36PM (#14773145)
    In fact, I'm responding to this post on my in car computeY$#YKGRdsfgsm;sd;mgf.
  • Yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MorderVonAllem (931645) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:37PM (#14773147)
    ...every single item mentioned in the article that applied to GPS Navigation systems could be applied to conventional maps, at least with a GPS Navigation system it could talk to you without you having to look at it (Tom Tom http://www.tomtom.com/ [tomtom.com] for instance). Then it would take your eyes away from it and on the road where it belongs.

    However you do navigate, you must plan ahead.

    -My $.02
    • Re:Yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jo7hs2 (884069) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:42PM (#14773179) Homepage
      I think the real problem with the GPS systems is placement. We rented a car with GPS Nav recently, and it was infinately more dangerous for me to use while driving then either my handheld GPS, or a map which I could unfold on the steering wheel only to the part I need. To use the GPS as installed in most vehicles, you have to move away from the steering wheel with at least one hand, and as such I would compare it more to the dangers of using a radio then a map. As per the talking, I find the talking fairly distracting too, but in addition, the talking features as well as the bells and whistles and real time updates become a constant distraction, whereas a map is a one shot deal, and plus, the talking might lull you into thinking you could use it while driving, while many people (most of the time meyself included) will pull over to use a map.
    • When I bought my Audi TT, the optional GPS system (which I didn't buy) would only talk to you. You would see a little thing on the display saying "Turn Left in 100 feet" or something like that.

      Audi claimed it was better because you weren't distracted by a map. Personally, I think it was just an excuse for not putting in a map display (especially because the other models very quickly got a map display).
    • Re:Yet... (Score:2, Informative)

      It depends on your system.

      My new car has a GPS and it speaks the directions to me: when a turn is coming up, how long until the next turn, etc. Sure, when a turn is coming up a zoomed-up maps shows me the turn, but I rarely look. To me, the voice is what counts.

      I'm also prohibited from doing things while driving: entering addresses, selecting destinations (except for "Home", etc. AND, if I want to do what I can I have voice activation: "zoom in," "zoom out," etc.

      If it didn't have the voice feature, then
    • My favorite part:



      "Our research shows even satellite navigation equipment, if used incorrectly, can lead to driver danger," said Ian Parker, Privilege's managing director.


      You don't say? You mean that stupid drivers are dangerous? Like the asshats using their cell phones while driving? I'll be if drivers were unfolding, looking at a map, and planning their route while driving, they've be dangerous too.



      Sheesh

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:38PM (#14773151)
    This is true for any device used in the car such as phones, swapping CDs, adjusting seats, playing with mirrors, etc.

    Many car manufacturers are moving towards what BMW has done for the last few model years with in-dash navigation systems: restricting input to when the car is in park. This makes inputing an address to be very troublesome especially when a passenger can do it but it prevents situations like these.
    • The Toytoa Prius will only allow destination input while the car is stopped (ie: at a stop light or side of road). It has the added feature of allowing a few pre-set destinations to be called up by voice command.

      I wish it responded a little more quickly. It's frustrating to wade through those sceerns when you desperately want to get on the road again. I don't really think that it's more distracting than anything else in the car, though. (Radio, CD, Phone, McBurger, girlfriend suddenly shouting "Ooh, look! S
    • by Jaime2 (824950) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:18PM (#14773356)
      Mine won't let you do anything that requires concentration like typing an address unless you have the emergency brake on. You can set the destination to one of the six predefined memory points, change the zoom, and change the display (brightness, contrast, night mode) while driving. It's the OEM model for Toyota and Lexus although I have it in a Honda.
    • Many new cars these days have passenger seat-belt indicators. When a passenger is sitting in the seat, the indicator blinks until the seat belt is buckled. It's really annoying if you throw something heavy on your passenger side seat. I would think that the same sensor could be used to allow input while driving only if the passenger is in the seat.
  • A shift in driving (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:39PM (#14773156) Homepage
    Since the customerwants to do other things while driving and the customer is always right, I don't see the distraction factor going down no matter what kind of enhancements are made to the nav system. What this really illustrates is that drivers are bored with driving.

    We need a more active accident avoidance system and other systems to reduce the need for driver intervention. If the driver wants to be less involved in the act of driving, the vehicle will naturally need to take up the slack.

    • by avalys (221114) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:00PM (#14773271)
      What this really illustrates is that drivers are bored with driving.

      I solve that problem by driving everywhere at above-legal speeds.

      I wonder if I can use that as an excuse the next time I get pulled over: "Well officer, I was speeding, but I was definitely paying attention to the road!"

    • by compwiz3688 (98919)
      Since the customerwants to do other things while driving and the customer is always right, I don't see the distraction factor going down no matter what kind of enhancements are made to the nav system.

      My parents' recent purchase of a Buick Allure has this info centre feature with some settings you can fiddle around. The manual says you must put the gear in park before you can change the settings, and I think this is the best safety feature that GM had made. Now, I don't see a reason why the route for the NAV
      • by DrEldarion (114072) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:23PM (#14773393)
        I have a navigational system in my car that won't let you input most things while the car is in motion. It will allow some things, like "quick stop" which will route to nearby gas stations/restaurants/hospitals, but it'll only show a total of 5 - if you want to scroll to search further, you have to stop. You can also program in any of the previous 5 destinations. The processes are easy enough that it's not a distraction, although maybe I'm just better at multitasking than most people.

        What irritates me, though, is if I have a passenger in the car, they can't do anything to the nav while I'm driving. If we suddenly realize we have the wrong address while we're on the freeway? Sorry, can't change it, even though the passenger could just as well do it. I wish they had some kind of weight sensor in the seat to allow that.

        • The processes are easy enough that it's not a distraction, although maybe I'm just better at multitasking than most people.

          No offense my friend, but I think a big part of the problem is that most people think they're better drivers than most people. Probably true for objectively determining how distracted one is, also.

          Certainly, some of us have more skill at it than others, and I'm not dissing you personally; for all I know, your name is Andretti. :)
        • by chefmonkey (140671) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @11:49PM (#14773806)
          If it's a Toyota nav system (and the five "quick stop" things sounds like it is) -- at least, from 2004 on -- your passenger can override the lock-out by doing the following:

          - Go to the map menu screen
          - Select "volume"
          - Tap the upper-left corner then the lower-left corner; repeat three times.
          - On the screen that pops up, press and hold "override" until it beeps
          - Tap "back"

          Now, until you turn the car off, your passenger should be able to use the nav system just fine. You will need to select "guide" after selecting your route, since it will no longer automatically start guiding you when the car starts rolling.
          • Do you know of any such trick (or where to find one) for a Chrysler nav system? I frequently find it super annoying that my passenger cannot work the nav system while I drive.

            - Ben
      • by kisrael (134664)
        I don't see a reason why the route for the NAV system should be set or modified while the car is in motion. The idea can also be applied here: Don't even let the driver create the distraction.

        That is the most retarded kind of lawyer-friendly nannythink possible.

        For me, route changes come up ALL the goddamn time when I'm on the road. Driving is rarely predetermined.

        Frankly, me finding a goddamn place to pullover and come to a dead stop on the highway shoulder to change the f'in target destination sounds abou
  • This kind of problem could actually be a good thing. It could usher in the era of on-windshield semi-transparent projected displays that allow you to keep your eyes closer to the road.

    That, and you could mod it to display a perfect set of breasts that bounced very lifelike whenever the vehicle went over a bump. Now there's something I would buy. Ok so that's just a pipe dream... well whatever, I still want the projected display on the windshield damn you!
  • by cookiej (136023) * on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:41PM (#14773172)
    I'll bet if you looked closer, you'd see that the idiots who "lose concentration" don't really know how to use the system. The nice thing about a map is that everyone understands how to use it. It's still massively dangerous. If you know how to use your nav system, it's easier than a map. The article should read:

    "Study Finds Stupid People More Likely to Kill Others When Driving"

    And this gem:
    Nearly one in eight did not even bother to check out a route they were unfamiliar with and simply relied on the technology to get them to their destination.

    Heavens! Relying on Technology! Burn them at the stake!

    Ye, Gods.
    • Re:Puh-leeze... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChildeRoland (949144)
      "The nice thing about a map is that everyone understands how to use it."

      The sad thing is how false that statement is.
    • Re:Puh-leeze... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:33PM (#14773455) Journal
      "Nearly one in eight did not even bother to check out a route they were unfamiliar with and simply relied on the technology to get them to their destination.
      Heavens! Relying on Technology! Burn them at the stake!"

      Relying on technology without any clue will always cause problems. Remember that example years ago when they gave inaccurate calculators to a class of students who were taking a test and only one of them questioned the answers that were coming from his calculator?

      My roomate used to drive 18 wheel trucks cross-country. On her first trip, she partnered with another new driver who used to work in the IT field. Needless to say, he loved his technology and ran out and got a GPS card and software for his laptop. He thought this was incredibly cool and paid very close attention to his GPS.

      The first problem came when they were switching freeways. Even though he knew he should get over to the right hand side because he knew the exit was coming up, he wouldn't move over until the GPS software told him to. One time he almost missed an exit because the GPS software was a little late in telling him to move over (map inaccuracy, GPS inaccuracy, whatever). Let's just say he was lucky it was late and there was no cop around, because he'd have lost his license and/or caused an accident.

      The next time, my roomate was sleeping when she was awakened by city traffic. His mapping software had told him the fastest route was on surface streets, so he obediently got off the freeway. The road narrowed from 8 lanes to four to two. When she looked out from behind the sleeping curtain, he was driving 30 miles per hour while staring at his laptop--not even looking at the road (and, remember, you don't necessarily stop so fast with a 30,000 pound trailer). She decided that if she wanted to live the night, she'd better get out there and get him out of the mess he'd gotten himself into.

      Finally, he got completely confused when there was construction and suddenly the place his GPS told him to exit was closed. He had no idea what to do, so he just kept driving. When my roomate woke up a couple of hours later and asked him where they were, he had no clue and the GPS wasn't much help either. She took over the wheel, got off on the next exit, turned the truck back around, and followed the plain ol' paper map to get back to exit he was supposed to take (it was open on the eastbound leg)

      When they finally got back, she decided to drive solo. He decided to become a Driver Manager...

      Now, in the guy's defense, he'd obviously gotten hold of some crappy software which, at the very least, didn't account for the fact that the vehicle he was driving was not a passenger car. But he became so fixated on doing what the software told him that he didn't pay attention to what the road signs, his training, or just plain ol' common sense told him to do. He would just slavishly follow the computer's instructions.

      I've seen MapQuest have the same effect, too. MapQuest seems to like to save you a couple tenths of a mile by making you "drive the hypotenuse." Turn left, turn right, turn left, turn right. If you just zoom the map out a little, you'll see you can just drive a quarter-mile, turn left, and drive another quarter-mile and be there.
      • That's weird. I had a friend who was an 18-wheeler driver and, according to him, the trucks had so much sensor data they practically drove themselves when on an interstate. And the trucks data was constantly monitored by the company so that if you deviated from the route they would get in touch and see what was going on. They could even monitor his engine in real time and call him if there was a problem. Also the trucks would only drive for a set amount of time and would do a forced shutdown (coasting to a
    • It's really the same thing we face in airplanes... cockpit resource management.

      Even if you did have the route planned, things change. Roads are under construction, traffic on heavily travelled sections backs up making alternate routes more desirable. The next thing you know, you have your head down programming the GPS and not looking outside.

      We've been fighting this in aviation for years. You've entered your route and approach information, then air traffic control hands you an ammended routing. So you e
    • Re:Puh-leeze... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283)
      I'll bet if you looked closer, you'd see that the idiots who "lose concentration" don't really know how to use the system. The nice thing about a map is that everyone understands how to use it. It's still massively dangerous. If you know how to use your nav system, it's easier than a map.

      I second that one. Before I got a car with GPS, I spent too much time looking in the trees trying to read street signs. It's an easy way to hit the kid on the bicycle crossing from the other way.

      Now I watch where I am goi
  • by bLindmOnkey (744643) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:49PM (#14773206)
    i'd argue that cell phones are worse. In the past year I've had some close calls with other cars on many occasions. When I glance at the driver 9 out of 10 of them were people yapping away on their cell phones, usually forgetting to turn their heads left, right, and/or behind them. I find myself cursing at these people helplessly from inside my car. nevertheless, anything on the dash can be distracting, ESPECIALLY a brightlit 7 inch screen with moving things on it. I took a roadtrip with a buddy using my laptop for GPS (i was the trip's navigator). I told my friend(the driver) to keep his eyes on the road while I told him where to turn based on the GPS nav(in addition to the computer voice in case he missed it.) Yet, Every few minutes or so I'd catch him glancing down at the laptop screen on my lap instead of paying attention to the 18 wheeler in front of us. Luckily I caught him most of the time and nothing happened but it's reallly easy to see just how dangerous distractions can be on the road.
    • Saw a Mythbusters recently where they went to a driving skills course and performed some basic driving tests (parallel parking, getting through a curvy course in 45 secs or less while staying on the road, emergency reflex test, etc). They did the test sober, while on a cell phone and answering questions asked by the person on the other end, and while legally drunk. They all did worse while on the cell phone than when drunk.
    • i'd argue that cell phones are worse. In the past year I've had some close calls with other cars on many occasions. When I glance at the driver 9 out of 10 of them were people yapping away on their cell phones, usually forgetting to turn their heads left, right, and/or behind them.

      I think that we'd probably both agree that it's not the technology that's at fault. It's the drivers themselves. We're not all bad drivers (and we're certainly not all good drivers) -- however, many of us are easily distract

      • There is no easy solution

        Use your horn more often

        American drives will take so much shit while they're driving that it amazes me. No wonder they get road rage & start running people off the road.

        If some asshat cuts you off, lean on the horn. If they run a light, lean on the horn. Forget to use a turn signal, lean on the horn.

        Guess what, people yapping on their cell phones will notice when you're blowing the horn at them.

        I used to be a very passive driver, cursing to myself when some jerk did something s

    • Playing devil's advocate here, there are much better ways of using GPS systems in cars. Mine is delivered through an iPaq PDA mounted on my windscreen as high as possible without obstructing the view. The positioning and clarity of the display (TomTom 5) means I can glance at the screen and back to the road very quickly. In fact in most light conditions I can actually regain focus on the road ahead faster using the PDA's speedo than the one on the dashboard!

      As for the brightness issue, TomTom includes a nig
    • I live in San Diego, and I personally find that women in bikinis are WAY more distracting than a cell phone or GPS.

      And are you SURE your buddy was looking at THE laptop and not YOUR laptop? I mean, maybe he dicided to play for the other team...

      I keed, I keed!
  • The nav systems in both of my parents' cars only allow you to set a destination while the car is in park. I'm not sure if this is particularly common, or if it's a safety feature that's been added recently (both cars are newish--one 2005, one 2006). It seems to make a fair bit of sense to me.
    • My dad's new truck only allows you to set while the PARKING BRAKE is on. You can't even just be in park!

      However, I just bought a new car, and the system allows me to do whatever I want while cruising down the road... go figure.
  • is the NAV system more distracting than messing with Yahoo Maps on your laptop while driving?
  • by rcpitt (711863) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:55PM (#14773242) Homepage Journal
    Back then, you could at least leave the act of staying on the road to the horse while you figured out just which road you should be on.

    The problem today isn't all the gadgets we have to help us get where we're going, it is the fact that we simply don't have time to do a good job of going anywhere, any time, with any help (or none).

    We're being inundated with ways of multi-tasking before we have established the abilities to off-load the major task - that of keeping ourselves and the rest of those around us alive to actually get where we're wanting/needing to be.

    We should leave all these distractions (people in the next seat, cell-phones, books on tape, talk-radio, TV, fancy guidance systems, etc.) out of the vehicle until such time as the vehicle can do the driving while we do the rest.

  • by stubear (130454) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:00PM (#14773272)
    My in-laws have a Chevrolet Trailblazer with the nav system. You cannot access any of the menus or buttons while the car is moving. Even the passenger cannot override the system. Since auto manufacturers typically reuse systems like this through out all their cars, presumably all Chevyrolet models are in the same...er...boat.
    • "My in-laws have a Chevrolet Trailblazer with the nav system. You cannot access any of the menus or buttons while the car is moving. Even the passenger cannot override the system. Since auto manufacturers typically reuse systems like this through out all their cars, presumably all Chevyrolet models are in the same...er...boat."

      I retrofitted this same system into my pickup. I found this limitation to be extremely frustrating, as they disabled far too much of the system and failed to take into account the fa

    • Same in Jaguars, once you go above 5km/h, it shuts down all input.
  • people are lazy and stupid.

    Film at 11

    Seriously, this is a non story. In car nav systems are no more dangerous (probably less dangerous) than a fold up map or 8.5"x11" printouts from Google Maps or Mapquest. All are distractions.
  • I'm using the honda nav system (on a civic 2006). Love it, don't want to leave home without it. I do mess with it on occasion while driving, but if its in a traffic situation I'll use the voice commands. I consider it a huge plus.

    Every second it gets me to my destination sooner lessens my likelihoood of being in an accident anyway.
    • Concur! I got the same vehicle, and I love that navsystem. Being able to fully control it (along with the sound system) by voice command alone is a huge bonus. In case anyone is curious, it does not appear to have any kind of operation restrictions (thank you, Honda!) The only quirk I've found is that it appears to be impossible to return it to the clock mode once you've OK'd the nag screen.
  • I am shocked! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gold23 (44621) <org DOT slashdot DOT 2 AT oolong DOT com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:03PM (#14773288) Homepage
    Is it really so surprising that navigation systems (and cell phones, and anything else that is not driving) serves to distract the driver from the important task of keeping their eyes on the road, and their concentration on keeping their car from impacting some other object?

    If they didn't want to introduce that hazard, they should have designed the system to blank the screen unless the car is in "park". Lost? Pull over and consult the map.

    I notice it much more, of course, with cell phones, since you can tell someone is using one. Almost invariably, when I see someone drifting across lanes, or stopping short because they were about to run into another car or a pedestrian, these days, they are chatting on a phone.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:09PM (#14773314)
    I hate it when you ignore the "turn left at the next light" and then they just start bitchin' at you:

    "I should have been bought by that other guy"
    "You never listen to me"
    "My mother told me not to let you buy me"

    On and on and on. It's enough to make ya crazy.

    • I hate it when you ignore the "turn left at the next light" and then they just start bitchin' at you:

      It needs voice recognition and one line. "When you are ready for help again, say uncle."

  • "The survey said most motorists who used either resource while driving would take their eyes off the road for 10 seconds, which at 60 miles an hour would equate to traveling twice the length of a football field."

    This pretty much makes me not believe what these people have to say. I cannot believe that it is possible to repeatedly drive blind for 10 seconds at 60mph without incident.
    • I cannot believe that it is possible to repeatedly drive blind for 10 seconds at 60mph without incident.

      I find reading and sending emails on the blackberry while driving does wonders to prep you for working the navi . (kidding, kidding)

      Most of the ones I work with use an audio navigation as well as the normal visual interface. When driving usually program the navi by ear. I'll glance at the map to get a feel for where I am at, but not near the amount of time they would have you believe from the article.
      • I find reading and sending emails on the blackberry while driving does wonders to prep you for working the navi . (kidding, kidding)

        Someone I know crashed on the highway (rear-ended someone else) because he was trying to operate his Palm Pilot for some reason (it didn't even have an email capability). I was also once rear-ended by someone reading a paper map. Apparently for some people, it's have distractions, will crash.

        I suppose it may be natures way to clean up the gene pool.

        Pity the rest of

    • This pretty much makes me not believe what these people have to say. I cannot believe that it is possible to repeatedly drive blind for 10 seconds at 60mph without incident.

      "Eyes off the road" != "driving blind". Peripheral vision is usually adequate for most people to keep the car pointed in the right direction and catch things like brake lights. Looking over at your nav system for 10 seconds at a time is indeed quite possible. You see, it's not a matter of vision, but a matter of attention. Most of the

  • The Flipside (Score:4, Insightful)

    by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:15PM (#14773345)
    I have a navigation system. The thing is completely crippled while driving due to morons like the ones in this study. It's like, because some people are complete morons, responsible people can't use the system as intended. I don't talk on my cell phone while driving. I don't punch in a new address in my nav system while driving (my old one let you do that). However, my passenger could! Nope, not with these wonderful new lawyer-ized systems that have navigation warnings when you start the car. Every time you start the car. Not with these systems that require your parking break to be on in order to use most of the functionality.

    How about a screen when you boot the device up for the first time ever:

    "Please punch in your driver's license number and name, and click 'I Agree' if you agree that any accidents you may have while driving using this navigation system are your responsibility alone, and you agree not to sue us."
    • "How about a screen when you boot the device up for the first time ever: "Please punch in your driver's license number and name, and click 'I Agree' if you agree that any accidents you may have while driving using this navigation system are your responsibility alone, and you agree not to sue us."

      The onboard GPS unit on my Lexus has something like this, although without the Driver's License number entry. You have to click on "I AGREE" everytime to start your car. And again, you only have a limited set o

    • You know, if you read the wiring diagram for the thing, you can probably override it.

      My JVC in-dash DVD came with a "safety interlock" but it indicated plainly in the manual "if you will be sure the screen is out of the view of the driver, simply connect SAFETY to GROUND."

      You might have something like that in your current one.
  • by (H)elix1 (231155) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:18PM (#14773357) Homepage Journal
    Yup - I'm one of those who don't bother to check the route before I go. I'm a road warrior, and with a GPS in the car it takes all the stress out of moving through an unknown city. This week it is Washington DC, next week a couple cities near San Jose. I may google a map and print it, but that is only a precaution that the rental shop horked up the reservation. So yah, I trust the technology... not sure why that is a problem. For the most part, it just works.

    The danger is getting a feel for the navi. It is not uncommon for it to yammer on about turning in a complex intersection - usually making you swerve at the last moment, and then swerve again because you (or the navi) made the wrong turn. Never forget that you are the PIC, even if you have no clue where you are. I'll joke with my wife that the navi is just trying to kill me, not get me lost.
  • Personal Experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AusIV (950840) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:20PM (#14773368)
    I go to college in a town about 4 hours away from my home. The first few trips, while I was learning the route back and forth, I used mapquest directions. In order to see what came next, I would have to take my eyes off the road, search for my directions, then try to read my directions while I was driving. About 2 months after I left, my parents got me a Garmin StreetPilot i3 as a late highschool graduation present.

    The street pilot uses a suction cup to stick to my windshield, and has a chord that plugs into my cigarette lighter. The controls are simple, just a wheel and two buttons. It has a map that shows where I am. When it's not navigating, it shows my speed and direction. When it is navigating, it shows my estimated arrival time, and the distance to my next turn. It also speaks outloud with instructions like "Go 103 miles, then turn left." And then when you get close to the next turn it will say "Go 500 feet and then turn left." It's quick to glance up and see how far I have until I need to be concerned about getting ready to turn/exit. If I forget to tell it where I'm going before I leave, it takes me about 10 seconds to reach up and pick a location from my favorites. I can't imagine typing in an address while driving, but picking a location from a list is much less distracting than trying to read directions on paper while driving.

    After getting my GPS, I decided to take an unfamiliar route back to college. I was able to keep my eyes on the road the whole time and I didn't get the least bit lost. Now I take it anytime I go someplace new, and I feel very confident that I'm a safer driver with it than without it.

    • I've got a Garmin Streetpilot as well and am a safer driver. Before, I had mapquest printouts in one hand, pinned to the steering wheel, trying to check what the next exit was. I slowed down a lot and frequently took the wrong road.

      Now I just keep my eyes on the road and obey the British dominatrix in my Streetpilot as she barks 'turn rIIIGHT!'
  • Did we really need a survey to tell us that? Good thing it wasn't a full-blown study! Next time they can just ask me, I'll charge them half the cost of their pricey surveys.
  • by rwyoder (759998)
    I just bought a new Jeep two months ago with the RB-1 (made by Alpine) GPS navigation radio. My experience is that I am more attentive when driving! I no longer need to worry about navigating or reading maps because the GPS is handling the navigation, so I can focus totally on driving. There is no need to be looking at the GPS because it always gives you verbal warnings well in advance of the next turn.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @10:25PM (#14773406)
    They should just leave their wives at home!
  • I've got a Garmin GPS III+, an older model with a 4 shade greyscale display. It's only got basic map information in it, usually only including the major streets in a town and not always including all the minor highways and county roads. It's still very handy for getting from A to B. Sometimes I go to a combination of mapqest and teraserver to locate where I'm going via satelite imagery, then get long/lat coordinates and dump them into the garmin.

    More than once I've taken a trip guided almost entirely by
  • Sat nav is ok but yes there can be a little too much information at times.
    only an idiot would try to enter data while driving its too fiddly for a start.

    with voice instruction once you have got used to how far she means when she says left turn 50 yards. I find it isnt distracting at all. although got to admit there are times when we don't agree.

    least she doesnt sulk when I choose a better route.
    to be honest sat nav isnt something you want or need everyday or for most of a journey its usually just getting to
  • Anything but the instrument cluster in a car is going to be a distraction to the driver, and even that is more than some people can handle. That's the nature of having to monitor a real-time process (driving) that deals harshly with anyone paying it only half-attention.

    Granted, the nature of the distraction does make a difference. Most of us can handle carrying on a conversation with a passenger without too much difficulty. However, it doesn't take much more than that to cause problems. Take that same co

  • Firstly:

    1. Insurance companies will find any excuse to say that someone is a hazard and increase their premiums - smokers, phone users, ppl who wear glasses, people with bad credit or no credit history - (Like if you just moved here from New Zealand and have no credit history in the USA) "people with no credit crash cars! hand over your cash!!" etc

    2. The report says that "people who dont set their destination before they leave" and then try set it while they drive... Well that is like trying to read
  • by Temsi (452609) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @11:49PM (#14773808) Journal
    The problem isn't the system, but the driver.
    The headline suggests the system itself causes distraction, when nothing could be further from the truth.
    I've used both maps and a navigation system, and the navigation system is about a zillion times better.
    If the driver programs the route WHILE DRIVING, the driver is a total moron.

    Place blame where it belongs, with the driver, not the technology.

    For crying out loud...
    • Blame the user! Yes, that's one way of looking at it. Another perspective is that the product designers could have built the systems in a way so as not to encourage activities that distract the driver, or at least not to tempt the driver to fiddle with accessories on the road. Or--best option--hire aesthetes and HCI experts to design your mapping systems to be intuitive and predictive enough not to require the driver's full attention to operate. Some of the dash-mounted interactive mapping devices I've seen
  • Alternate Headline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NiteShaed (315799)
    How about "Drivers who misuse GPS are road hazards".

    From the summary:

    'One in 10 motorists with navigation systems set off on their journeys without bothering to program their route, and more than half admitted that they then had to take their eyes off the road to input the details while driving.

    It's never even occured to me to try doing this. If people insist on doing something dumb with a device in their car, it's not the device's fault, it's the [mis]user's.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @12:39AM (#14774105) Journal
    I've used both the Garmin Streetpilot 2610 and the Lowrance iWay 500c in-car GPS systems pretty extensively while driving. Primarily, I rely on them to locate customers for my on-site service business, but I also used the Lowrance for a brief stint as a courier, plus used both on a couple of longer trips out of state.

    Even though I always try to enter my destination info before actually driving off - I often get in situations where I need to make some changes "on the fly". It's not always really practical to pull off to the side of the road someplace, just to tell it about a new stop you found out you need to get to along the way. As other people said, much of the problem with trying to use a GPS while driving is lack of familiarity with the interface. With mine mounted on my dash in just the right place, I can glance at it quickly or press a few buttons on it quickly without really taking my eyes off the road. But my biggest issue with both units I've used has been an imperfect touch-screen. Sometime you press something and it doesn't respond, or it selects the item above or below the one you tried to pick. Distractions like that can really cause problems.

    I also wish they had a little more accurate map data in them! Even though I always bought the latest available map updates for both units I've owned, I've always had numerous problems with it not knowing the correct exit numbers for given highway exits, and cases where it indicated an on-ramp was on my left when it was really coming up on my right (or vice-versa).

    They also tend to be bad with long highway exit ramps that split off into 2 different directions at the end of them. (EG. It will tell you "Exit right in 1/4th. mile onto exit 96/97A." But if you don't know for sure if the next instruction is going to be taking 97A vs. 96, it won't tell you until the last few seconds if you need to turn "right" or "left" when the exit forks off in two different directions!)

    The Lowrance iWay 500c in particular has been unreliable with "points of interest". I've entered names of restaurants I was looking for, only to be led right up to the driveway of someone's house! (My guess is, they somehow mixed up the restaurant owner's home and business addresses, and took me to the owner's home.) This is especially disturbing considering they use Navteq map data, which is pretty much an "industry standard" for MANY in-car GPS systems.
  • by spooje (582773)

    You guys must have some really crappy navi systems in the US if this is a problem. I've rented plenty of cars in Tokyo, had no idea how to get where I was going, but the navi got me safe and sound, and no going the wrong way down a one-way street. Almost all new cars in Tokyo come with a navi system because it's almost impossible to find where you need to be on a map.

    Here the maps are even updated in realtime to show you where construction is that day, where gas stations and eateries are. I hope when

  • I especially like the one that "floats" the map in front of the vehicle: http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jk/021016. h tm [canadiandriver.com]
    I wouldn't want to have to wear special goggles.

    I would want to be able to announce/push a button/otherchoice to chose alternate routes if my shosen route is blocked, and I'd like a switch in the steering wheel to engage/disengage the display at will. I defineitely want a passenger to be able to choose routes if I'm driving.

    This should be an opportunity for some enterprising geek.

    MEB
  • I have no idea what brand it was (pioneer or something), but a friend of mine has a nav system in his element. Maps are WAY more dangerous, because well, you have to look at a map. Once you've typed in the endpoint, it tells you when to turn and whatnot. No human interaction is needed after you've set the waypoints. When was the last time a paper map spoke up to let you know you missed your exit or to tell you traffic is slowing ahead?

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