Dueling TomToms

via flickr.com

I had a moment recently.  I was stuck in traffic and my in-car GPS system was issuing ever increasing traffic time predictions (along with unsolicited re-routings along side streets riddled with stop signs).  It was swiftly becoming clear that it would be at least two hours before I finished my 20 mile journey home.

So what did I do?  Did I make my peace?  No.  I turned on the GPS on my cell phone hoping for better news.  Although usually more reliable than my in-car system, my cell phone GPS issued very different travel advice (but equally unpalatable ETA predictions.)

I was hungry, thirsty, and unprepared for such a long trip.  I wanted to be home already. The dueling TomToms only added to my discomfort.

Perhaps due to the confusion of pledging allegiance to two masters with different advice, I exited the highway and came to a gas station.  All the sudden it hit me – it was just going to take a long time to get home.  Trying to pick the “best” route was making me crazy, so I turned off one TomTom, bought a few snacks and settled in for my two hour commute.

My takeaway was that while one often has the choice of a few good routes at the start of any endeavor, the highest dividends are often paid to those who commit to and intentionally delight in a single well-chosen route.


3 thoughts on “Dueling TomToms

  1. While I agree with the sentiment of this post, I feel compelled to mention my disapproval of dueling TomToms as it pertains to traffic safety. When drivers divert their attention from the road to attend to other activities, especially using technology, they put themselves and all other users of the road at risk. The evidence continues to show that drivers who are talking on the phone or fiddling with other gadgets show impairment similar to drunk drivers.

    Biking and walking are my primary forms of transportation, and I fully expect that my son will also walk and ride his bike to school when he is elementary school aged. My biggest fear is that my precious son will be harmed by a self-centered driver who valued a phone call or text message more than maintaining a duty to control his or her vehicle safely. Please show as much concern for other users of the roads as you do for the children you shepherd.

    1. I admire your commitment to walking & biking! While a true perk of city living, commuting this way must make you exceptionally aware of the hazards of the road. When it comes to the use of technology – in the car or otherwise – I agree that we must be very thoughtful consumers. Just as we tell our students in a Montessori setting who are working with a hammer or scissors for the first time, “Tools are not toys,” we must learn to use them safely and for their intended purpose. A navigation system is intended to help those of us who do drive, to do so more safely. If it fails to serve that function, we have the responsibility to pull off the road and make a new plan.

      One of the biggest adjustments I have had to make as an oft-walker myself in this new city is remembering that drivers in Chicago do not often yield to pedestrians – even in marked crosswalks! I did a little research and it sounds like the “stop & yield” law only went into effect in the summer of 2010. This fall, a car zoomed right past my puppy & I as we were walking in a well-marked crosswalk on our way to the park. You can imagine my surprise when a police officer actually pulled the driver over for it (after all 99% of cars still do not yield). I suppose it takes time to make change. Anyhow… that is my soapbox!

      Thanks for your heartfelt comment. I wish you & yours very safe travels.

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