How to spook your Nav system

I recently took possession of a new vehicle for which the salesman promoted the INFOTAINMENT system package. We took it – after all I wanted better control over my music, and I like to see myself saving gas.

SO – as a side ‘benefit’ there is a satellite/GPS based NAV system. Its neat, I appreciate the technology, although if you don’t set a destination it goes all murky at night, and even in the day if its overcast and gloomy. I sometimes have it on just to see all the side streets I’m bypassing in unfamiliar areas.

I have had it several months now – but as I know my way around pretty well I have never asked it to direct me anywhere. However, the other night I was in Almonte (40 minutes west of Ottawa) wanting to go back to Perth (30 minutes roughly south west.) I knew the way perfectly well by major highways but I wanted the scenic route – in the gathering gloomy of a February evening. I also knew, from a glance at a map (in my map booklet no less), the route I wanted. So I set the destination: “Downtown, Perth” and set off. Immediately it advised a left turn (the major highway route). I drove straight on. Silence, then an attempt to turn me onto a road I knew led back to that road. I ignored that too and went across the junction – straight on in a beeline for Perth. Silence for a couple of minutes then: “Please make a U-turn.”  I had it worried! But could see the road ahead was replete with pleasant upmarket houses on substantial wooded lots. The road was gravel/dirt, but it worked quite well! More silence, and then “If it is safe to do so, please make a U-turn.” I kept going. “She” kept silent. After all, there were no side roads to tempt me with.

Eventually we agreed about a turn left – it was on the natural route to Perth I was on anyway. A few miles further on the named road I was on came to a junction that threatened me with “Road not Maintained: Use at own risk.” In daylight I’d have explored, but it was dark by now, so I caved in and turned right then left for Highway 7, and a quick trip into Perth. Honour was satisfied.

NAV isn’t perfect. A day later on a middle lane on the Queensway through Ottawa it was advising me turn left, when it was really advising me not to get trapped in a right lane that forced an exit. Earlier, at the junction accessing the Queensway the obvious onramp that both I and NAV knew I needed to take was at angle across the junction, slanting upwards (top left so to speak) onto the Queensway, but the NAV advised me to turn left, which would take me under the Highway. A pedant would have gotten lost.

So – its best have your divining stick with you if you have a NAV, and a road map, a tiny tad of common sense.

P.S. I’m still here – not lost in space, just lost in time.


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