GPS getting you lost? Check out these tips for finding the best route


by Katherine Whaley / KHOU 11 News

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 23 at 6:00 PM

HOUSTON—Does your GPS ever get you lost? It’s a device that’s supposed to put you on the right path, but most of us have been led into dead-ends and traffic jams.

"Sometimes it takes me there, sometimes it doesn’t," driver Tony Murray said. 

Chris Fernandez echoed the same sentiments. 

"It flips you around it says re-route, re-route," Fernandez said. 

With this kind of confusion, you may be reconsidering whether to use it at all. 

"It definitely has its use, it just hasn’t worked as easily or as well as I liked it to," Roberta Suggs said. 

Murray believes most drivers rely too heavily on the GPS. 

"We used to write down directions, but now we just go to the GPS," he said. 

Ashley Small, a technology specialist and President of Medley, Inc., agreed.

"The number one mistake is relying on GPS 100 percent," she said.  

Small said it’s hard for the device to keep up with road work.

"Sometimes there’s construction and sometimes streets change," she said.

It’s a problem Jason Hollier, owner of La Boucherie, knows all too well. 

When part of FM 1960 was renamed "Cypress Creek Parkway," businesses like La Boucherie, a specialty meat shop, had a new problem on their hands.  

"So all of our labels are still going to say FM 1960 West. They punch that into their GPS, and they may have trouble getting here," Hollier said.

So how do you avoid being lost or late? 

Small said—depending on your device or smart phone GPS—you can purchase or download upgrades. She also recommended keeping a back-up on hand. 

"Have a traditional map available and have your GPS, but don’t use it as your only source," Small said.

What’s more, you can "test drive" a GPS device before you purchase it. Small recommended trying out a variety of different GPS devices to determine which one is best for your individual needs. 

Most retailers have a 30-day return policy, so consider returning the device if it is not user-friendly.

Small also recommended looking for devices with the latest GPS technology. Those features include speed alerts, which inform the drivers when they exceed the posted speed, and car-location technology, which can help you find your car in a parking lot.