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GPS mistakes truck drivers make

Truck drivers use GPS (Global Positioning Systems) more than car drivers. Mostly, this is a good thing. GPS helps drivers deliver cargo to the proper destination on time, with as few navigational errors as possible.

Nevertheless, GPS mistakes get made, and some of them lead to accidents and serious injury.

Here, thanks to a recent GPS consciousness raising campaign by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), are some of the most common mistakes truck drivers make:

  1. They use the wrong kind of GPS. Truckers need the level of information designed for professional truck drivers, not moms and dads in SUVs. Drivers following a GPS unsuited to heavy duty use can get themselves in a lot of trouble. GPS systems purchased at Walgreen's are less likely to contain information about axle weight restrictions, overpass heights, etc.
  2. They follow outdated maps. Decent GPS systems automatically update maps, but the driver has to initiate the updating to get current navigation information. Bad maps lure trucks into places they shouldn't be. Suddenly they are on a main drag instead of the truck route the GPS map showed, shoulder to shoulder with families in cars.
  3. They don't plan their navigation in advance. Drivers need to be trained to plan trips using GPS, but many don't get that training. Drivers should enter critical vehicle information so the system can intuit the best possible route. They need to type in the vehicle's length, width, height, axle weights and whether hazardous materials are involved. Otherwise the GPS information should not be trusted. The larger the truck, the more necessary this step is.
  4. They ignore GPS and blaze their own path. Sometimes this is because they are sure they remember a better route. If a driver has a proper GPS, he or she should follow its recommendations.
  5. They ignore information that is just as important as what the GPS says. It is possible to over-rely on GPS. Drivers ignore visible traffic signs and warnings ("NARROW BRIDGE") at their -- and our -- peril.
  6. They allow GPS use to cross over into distracted driving. They get so involved in programming the GPS that they take their eyes off the road.

Truck drivers need to be trained, alert, and smart about the safety of others around them!

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