“When possible make a legal u-turn”

I’m a sucker for rental car GPS, even when I know pretty well where I am going. This was recently a problem.


Two nights ago I had to travel from JFK to White Plains, NY — a trip I’d never made previously. Easy, right? Well, not so easy when the Hertz Neverlost demands that you exit on the Hutchinson expressway when that exit is closed for repairs. So I exited as soon as I could and figured I’d just find somewhere else to get on the Hutch. As I drove around sidestreets, frontage roads, and massive mall parking lots — which are cartographic black holes to the GPS — the unit kept recalculating, recalculating. But each time it forced me right back to the closed exit.

OK, fine. Reset. Choose “Least Use of Freeways.” Recalculating, recalculating. Right back to the !@#$% closed exit. At this point it became comical because it dawned on me that I would have to deliberately get lost. Really lost. Really far away from the right path — all in order to force the GPS unit to calculate a path that bypassed the closed exit. And this I did. Getting lost in NYC is not particularly difficult, of course, but the sheer density of interconnected streets makes getting sufficiently, distantly lost a challenge. It worked and I travelled through some very quaint, eerily quiet towns on my way upstate. To add insult to inury the device actually started telling me to turn in the opposite direction from what the map (and logic) clearly demonstrated.

Of course, I had a printed map in the passenger seat the whole time. But I showed that GPS unit who was in charge, yessir.

2 Responses to ““When possible make a legal u-turn””

  1. Darren says :

    I regularly have this argument with Rob. I think GPS is a bad idea. Don’t you think eventually we’ll loose the ability to navigate on our own? Like you’ll need to find a bathroom near your office, but without a GPS device you’d just not be able to do it.
    Rob (and pretty much everyone else) doesn’t agree, but I’m waiting for that time in 10 years when GPS will fail and I’ll be the only one capable of finding my way home. 🙂

  2. John says :

    Wait. You don’t use GPS to find the nearest toliet?