When I read stories from people who say that their GPS sent them this way, or sent them that way, or made them turn their vehicle into a corn field, I have to shake my head. Seriously? It made you turn into a cornfield? It's like they turn on their GPS, and turn off their brain.
Your GPS device is made to be used as a guide, not meant to be followed blindly.
I think the biggest mistake people make is to let the GPS choose your route. Sure, that can sometimes be the easiest way if you're in a car and in the city and you just want the simplest way from point A to point B. And, sometimes your GPS really will chose the best route.
But if you're in a cumbersome motorhome, or pulling a trailer, you don't want to end up in a cornfield, so to speak. And that's what might happen if you allow your GPS to blindly lead you to your destination.
Because we do a lot of driving in our motorhome, and some of it in Mexico where some of the village streets can be narrow, we don't want to end up on a road that's not RV friendly.
So I don't trust our GPS to pick the best route.
I make the route, and then enter it into the GPS. I still use Google maps even though I much preferred the old google maps to the new one. I simply haven't found a better mapping system, so until I do, Google maps is it.
Using Google maps, if you "right click" anywhere on the map it will give you a menu that allows you to choose whether that point is your departure or your destination. So you first allow the map to make your route, then you look to see if there is a better route. Perhaps you don't want to take the most direct route. Perhaps you don't want to travel on the main highway. You can then alternate your route accordingly.
One of the "right click" items on the menu says "What's here?". If you click that, it will give you the GPS coordinates of that point. So wherever you want to make a major turn, you want to put your cursor on that point and get the GPS coordinates so that you can input those coordinates into your GPS. Yes, often on a day's travel I will input co-ordinates four or five times as we get to our destination. As you input those coordinates, you check the map route on your GPS to make sure it's the route you want.
I also use the coordinates from Google maps for anything we need to find along the way. And I use street view for looking at roads to see if that road is suitable for the motorhome.
Your GPS has route planning options, such as "fastest route" or "shortest route". But again, these are guides...they are not necessarily the fastest or shortest in the real world because there are too many variables. The GPS's brain is smart, but not as smart as your's! You need to use your own brain to confirm whether or not the GPS is correct, and then decide which route is better for you.
And, when we hit the road, I have the GPS running, but Ruth is also tracking our progress with an actual paper map. Sometimes she'll see a possible route change that takes us somewhere worthwhile.
Having a GPS is not the be all and end all of road travel, but it's certainly a device I don't want to be without. Using it smartly can save you time, money, and aggravation. But using it blindly will at some point cost you.
GPS units at Amazon.com - USA
GPS units at Amazon.ca - Canada
Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator