I’ve been thinking about driving before GPS. I remember my family having an atlas in the backseat that we’d reference for long trips and actually map out our journey - which roads to take, which exits to get off of exits, and the distances involved. My clearest memory was constantly trying to figure out whether we missed an exit or not. The usual solution was to just pay attention for the next couple of minutes and try to use the signs along with the road atlas to figure out where you were on the map. Now, you just type in the destination on your smartphone as soon as you get the car and just start driving. Even if you make a mistake the directions automatically update to correct your course. The amount of time saved by GPS for every trip that no longer needs to be preplanned or adjusted enroute must be incredible. I suspect it’s also changed the type of trips we’re making - rather than going to the same old nearby spots that we know we can get to, we’re confident enough to go beyond that and discover something new, knowing that our phones will bail us out.


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