In The Know

photo credit: digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos

photo credit: digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos

I’ve been driving for a long time and I started late (around age 25 when I was forced to get a permit because my boyfriends stop chauffeuring me around). Back then, you were driving with fewer cars, less streets, less police, less weather. You just did it. Weather was the only factor in whether I’d drive or take public transportation. These days I drive, ride, reschedule or just miss the activity, I very seldom think about public transportation as an option. I do drive safer and smarter because now I have“experts”, tools and devices to assist me on my journey.
Every time I think about a driving trip, I immediately start with strategies that will make the task more enjoyable. Over the last year, I’ve found resources that really help. Here’s the short list:
1. Weather – Always look out the window to check weather conditions and visit  www.weather.com. Some days out the window and destination conditions are totally different.
2. Traffic – LIVE traffic at http://www.tomtom.com – knowing the hot spots before I start is always a big thumbs up.
3. Blind spot – My mirrors need to be adjusted every time I re-position my seat, I learned a new/better technique to reduce the blind spots at http://www.cartalk.com/content/avoiding-blind-spot-5
4. Parking –The  ParkMe app on my smartphone is a time saver. I use it when I know parking will be an issue. http://www.techlicious.com/tip/4-apps-that-will-save-you-time/
5. GPS – Gotta know before I go, route & travel time plus I love the click mount, talk and go features on the PNDs I sell at http://www.Sysmoe.com

Thank You “Experts”: Fox, & Dan & Fred & Jim!(My bloggers at CarTalk, Techlicious, and about.com). Like some folks say, it’s all in who you know! 🙂

New Year Old Me

I decided to make resolutions that don’t require anything new this year. After all, being old means you have acquired lots of habits to choose from. I’m moving three things from my “to do” list. Things/tasks that I have chosen in past years and dismissed for one reason or another.  This year I’m going to be serious and stay on course. In 2014, old me will:

1. Keep a clean car.  The interior is the worse, right now, if you get in my car you’ll have to move something to sit down.  There are at least 4 water bottles (3 empty), a roll of paper towels and bottle of window cleaner, my car bag (plastic grocery bag) full of candy wrappers, receipts and such; extra clothes,(2 scarves, 3 hats), and a newspaper I tossed in yesterday; I picked it up off the lawn on my way out. I do clean the inside of my car  every so often when I can’t stand to look at all that mess. Enough!  This year, starting next week, I’ll clean up after every trip,and use the vacuum regularly. The trunk and exterior are not part of the deal right now, maybe I’ll add them mid-year (baby steps).

2. Update the navigation system in my car, a 2006 Toyota that’s never been updated. I  use a portable GPS or my IPAD when an address does not compute on the built-in device. When I have it serviced I hope I can add some of the new features  like hands-free calling and lifetime traffic available on new GPS devices today. I bet this one is going to cost me. 😦

3.  Use the features in my car that I never bothered to learn, like the cruise control, heated seats, function buttons on the steering wheel, and the rear window shade. Believe it or not, there’s probably more. Oh well..

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I like my picks for this year, each one will enhance my driving experiences; And, I have a whole year to change an old habit! 🙂

Phone or PND

Do you agree that we need all the help we can get when we are driving these days? Are most drivers thinking safety first?  You know, things like using the turn signal before changing lanes, maintaining the recommended distance between vehicles, stopping completely at stop signs and of course driving the speed limit. That’s not what I see when I’m on the road.  I hear someday soon we’ll opt for the purchase of the smart car that drives itself and driving will be fun and safe. Well, until that day arrives, give yourself and other drivers a break. Reduce driving stress, take your phone out of circulation while you are behind the wheel. The phone makes it easy to get into trouble, (texting, calling, talking).  It’s the one distraction that you really can take full control of.  Think of it as one less thing you have to worry about.

Many of us use apps on our smartphones for multiple things, GPS is one of them, but I got to tell you, it’s really stressful using my phone for directions, if I’m driving. The screen size is too small to see the maps clearly and mounted, the phone is too far away to operate easily. You can guess what happens when you drive out of cell phone tower range.

On occasions when I used my phone or IPAD for directions they both worked. But they always add stress to the drive. They are great if I’m the co-pilot and that’s my only job. However, if I’m the driver, my confidence level is highest when I drive the car with the dedicated GPS device.  My phone is in my purse, so I’m not distracted trying to pick it up or change my position to view the screen on the device.  The GPS touchscreen is large enough for me to see and I can utilize the function icons when I need too. All of the information is focused on getting me to my destination and I can concentrate on the road. It’s the perfect driving companion.

It’s a fact that smartphones are the best when it comes to being connected  to the cellular network and the internet.  That’s why my phone is back up for my personal navigation device.  I like the benefits of having my phone for directions if I’m not the driver, However my PND with hands free-calling while driving gives me the best advantage to getting to my destination with less stress.

Trying to decide if you really need to invest in a personal navigation device (PND)/dedicated GPS, read more…http://gps.about.com/od/gpsproductoverview/a/smartphone-vs-dedicated-gps.htm?