Today: 'National Read A Road Map' Day

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The Highlight Reel's Comment
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Hard to believe, but there are plenty of people out there that just don't know how to read a map, or don't want to. April 5, for reasons completely lost to time, is "National Read A Road Map Day".

Increasingly, younger drivers are incapable of reading a road map, instead relying solely on satellite navigation systems (GPS), according to a recent survey. 78% of the surveyed drivers don't concern themselves with navigating using anything other than a GPS, because they "don't need to". Coincidentally, 50% also said that they still get lost on trips, relying solely on satellite navigation.

Maps are those colorful, coded, paper drawings of squiggly, numbered patterns that, when deciphered properly, will allow the user to accurately and efficiently plan and execute a road trip.

Most experienced truck drivers will understand the benefits of not relying solely on GPS, and will almost always have access to some type of technological aids. There are still plenty of reasons to know how to navigate without GPS:

  • Technology can fail at inopportune times: You never know when you might need an actual map. Signal loss, outdated maps, or total breakdown could leave you hanging. Have a backup plan.
  • Trip planning: A physical map gives you a better overall perspective of the route, the "big picture". Knowing your location in space rather than relying only on given directions. For many people, visualizing details about the route serves them better than turn-by-turn instructions.
  • Plan your own route: GPS/satnav is not infallible, and may be missing important information i.e. bridge heights, weight restrictions. For those traveling the same lanes repeatedly, it's a good way to imprint and reinforce those routes on your brain.
  • Laminated road atlases allow for the use of dry erase markers for either trip planning or for things like noting particular truck stops, fuel stops, or your own route details that may not be available with GPS.
  • Simple comparison: Human directions are also not infallible, cross-checking against the GPS and atlas will make sure you know exactly what you're in for.

Generally, you're going to want to use any tool available to you: GPS, road atlas, Google Maps for getting a good look at the actual customer layout, customer directions, etc.

Fun Fact: Rand McNally actually created the system of numbered and signed highways that was later adopted by federal and state highway authorities.

More From TruckingTruth:

Forum -

Forum - About gps...and use map..

Forum - Maps or GPS

External Links:

Paper maps vs. GPS: When to go 'old school'

The paper map: Obsolete? Or old school trucker standby still?


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