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Is Using a GPS While Driving Just as Bad as Texting?

Is Using a GPS While Driving Just as Bad as Texting? There are all sorts of distractions when we’re driving on the road. Sometimes, it’s a scenic view. Other times, it’s the kid in the backseat. More often than not, however, the most distracting object we have is our phone. We know texting and driving is bad, but we don’t really think about our GPS. Our GPS, or apps such as Google Maps or Apple Maps, are good at telling us where to go, but they also distract us, especially when we try to input a new destination while driving. Crashes due to the driver messing with their navigational system have happened before, and they can happen to you – whether you’re the distracted driver or the unfortunate person who is hit by a distracted driver. So when driving, it’s important that you take the proper safety measures to get to your location uninjured and whole.

Ways in which your GPS presents a danger

Every day in the United States, there are nine fatalities and at least 1,000 injuries reported that are related to distracted driving, according to While the general assumption might be to write most of those off as having to do with texting, there have been studies that show programming your GPS while driving was one of the top most distracting activities. Like texting, typing on your phone and making sure to get the right address, all while driving, is just as distracting.

Adjusting or programming your navigational system falls into all of the three categories of distracted driving: manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions. When a driver takes a hand off the wheel to change the location of where they’re going, that is a manual distraction. Their eyes leave the road in front of them in order to look at their device or phone, which is a visual distraction. Finally, their mind is distracted by having to think on the right address, or the wrong turn they took; that is cognitive distraction. states that “programming navigation takes, on average, 40 seconds to complete. It takes another 13 seconds for the brain to refocus after completing a task like this.” It takes just two seconds of a driver’s eyes off the road to double the chances of that car crashing.

Using voice activation commands for your GPS may help, but studies have shown that the concentration and attention it takes to say the right commands to your GPS can still affect your concentration on the road in front of you and the traffic around you.

The most common ways navigational devices are misused

It’s important to note that even though there might be in-vehicle technology, it does not mean that it is always safe or user-friendly. There are a few ways in which using your GPS becomes dangerous. These include:

  • Programming and Changing Directions. While driving, a driver shouldn’t program their GPS as they drive. It requires the same amount of effort and thought to do that as it does to text. “According to a survey conducted by iDriveSafely, 51% of drivers admitted to looking up directions on their phones while driving and 18% looked up a store, restaurant, or bar on Yelp.”
  • Turning off the audio on the GPS is another mistake. It requires more incidents where the driver has to look away from the road and to their GPS. Teen drivers especially like mute the GPS function so that they can listen to their music without interruptions.
  • Wrong turn. Anyone can make a wrong turn, but when using GPS, drivers should be sure that the turn they are being told to make is actually not only the turn you want, but a safe turn.

Making these sorts of mistakes with your device can cost you a lot. Not only can you face a ticket, but you may end up severely injured and/or injuring others in a crash that you possibly caused. In Tennessee, we have a modified comparative negligence law that states that should you get injured in a crash where you somehow caused your own injuries in any way (such as being distracted by your GPS), the amount of money you can secure from a lawsuit may be reduced.

What are common injuries from distracted driving?

Distracted driving accidents can lead to all sorts of injuries, and depending on the severity of your crash, your injuries may be very severe or even fatal. Some of these injuries include:

These injuries can have complications such as deadly infections or hypoxia for instance. While the injuries alone can have a lasting effect on your life, the complications will almost certainly see to it. Your injury may keep you from your job, causing you a loss in income. You may need a permanent caregiver, or undergo years of medical treatments such as surgeries. The financial strain can be significant.

If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, then it is your right to seek out compensation for your pain and suffering. We understand the stress you and your family are going through, and we will work diligently to ensure that you have restitution and justice. Do not hesitate to call our Chattanooga distracted driver lawyers today for help. To schedule a free consultation, call Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law today at 423-756-7923, or complete our contact form. We serve injured clients in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and North Georgia.