How To Navigate When Driving Solo

How To Navigate When Driving Solo

You already learned in your online driver’s ed class that you’re not supposed to use your phone when you’re driving down the highway and you’re not supposed to be looking at an atlas as you’re weaving down busy city streets. Unfortunately a lot of people still do it.

When it comes to texting and driving, making calls, or even taking your eyes off the road for anything, it’s a bad idea.

But what if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before and you’re going alone? Your online driver’s ed class may have glossed over what solutions you have when you need to navigate without someone in the navigator’s seat, but we’ve got some great tips to help you when you’re traveling solo in the car.



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1. Get A GPS System

This is an obvious and easy solution that has become relatively affordable with the advent of smartphones, and it’s so convenient that a lot of newer comes come with it built in. A GPS unit that is dedicated for car use only can stay in your glove compartment when you park the car and will give you clear and simple directions to get to your destination.

Many GPS units have regular updates to ensure you’re always taking the best route possible, some can alert you when a police officer is nearby, and other devices can even refer to traffic to ensure you’re going to get their quickly.

Before you put the car into drive, just enter in your destination and follow the instructions. Never try to enter information on your device while you’re in motion; in fact, many built-in car GPS systems won’t allow you to enter any information until the car has come to a complete stop. It might be a little frustrating to pull over and change your final destination information, but it won’t eat into your travel time too much.

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2. Purchase A Cell Phone Holder

No, this isn’t for texting while driving! You might not want to put down the money for a GPS unit, though, since you might already have one in your phone. Additionally, a GPS device in your car is something that could attract thieves, so a cell phone holder is an excellent option as well for any smartphone owner.

There are a few issues with using a cell phone holder as opposed to a traditional GPS device. First of all, it can be tempting to use your phone for other things when it’s right in front of you. Even if you consider yourself disciplined when it comes to phone use when you’re behind the wheel, it’s hard to look away when you see calls or texts coming in. Additionally, notifications will not only distract you but can hinder you hearing or seeing where you need to turn next.

If you can resist the temptation, then you might love using a cell phone holder. It’s a much better way to get from Point A to Point B than fumbling with the phone in your lap or holding it up to see what the directions are. At any given moment in the day in the USA, there are over 650,000 people using their phones while driving. If you can commit to using your phone for GPS purposes only, you can easily get directions for your destination safely.

Check out the top rated automotive cell phone holders here.

3. Use A Good Old-Fashioned Map

Yes, really. Purchase an atlas or a map of your destinations or your city and familiarize yourself with it. Although this might seem like an antiquated way to get around, it’s definitely beneficial in places where you might not get cell reception or for when technology seems to fail on you and your GPS unit or phone aren’t working properly. People got around with maps for ages, and it’s still possible to do so.

The main issue with using maps is that nothing is dictating your next move to you. If you forget what the directions are or where you need to turn, you’ll have to refer back to the map. This mean pulling over to the side of the road and stopping completely to get oriented.

That said, while it might add a bit of time to your traveling, it won’t be a significant amount of time. Your life is valuable, so there’s no point in trying to drive and glance down at a map in your lap while trying to stay in your lane. It will add on maybe a minute of travel time—if it’s even that much—and it will mean you get to your destination in one piece.

Check out our top recommended atlas here.

4. Ask Someone

We don’t really know why people dislike stopping in at a quickie mart and asking for directions. Sometimes, locals will have the best advice for you to get to where you want to be! They’ll be able to give you tips on getting around that a GPS device or a cell phone simply can’t give, like avoiding certain intersections around rush hour or taking a particular street to avoid construction.

The main downside to asking for directions is that it will take some time. Again, nothing is more valuable than your life, so if you have to choose between looking down at your phone for directions or asking a gas station attendant, go with the latter. Also, people do make mistakes and if you ask someone who isn’t 100% sure then you could end up with faulty directions. Generally, people will want to help and give you the correct route, but it’s not a foolproof plan.

Whatever is best for you, the most important thing to keep in mind is that while you’re driving you need to focus on driving. In 2014, over 3,000 people died and 431,000 were injured in crashes that involved distracted drivers. Find the solution that’s least distracting for you and use it when you’re navigating solo.