GPS or Global
Positioning System is the new "must-have" for drivers navigating
roads they don't know. With this system, instead of calling for
directions or using a map or even getting directions from Mapquest, the user can get
their travel directions spoken to them by a
computerized voice that comes from a small box that is attached to
the dashboard of the car. GPS gives the driver exact directions.
It's as if there is another person sitting in the car reading from a
map for the driver. The only catch is that the GPS is a machine and
not a person.
Hence, a recent news article that is no doubt
meant to be a serious piece of news but has a humorous touch.
According to the story, it seems that motorists turn their brains
off when they turn their GPS systems on. Some drivers obey the
computerized voice, totally disregarding their own mind and brain.
These motorists do totally irrational things on the basis of the
computerized voice and have crashed into rivers, construction sites
and roadside rest areas in Germany and Britain.
"It's hard to understand how these things can
happen," said a spokesman for a German motorist club. "It's not as
if people are driving in a tank with only a small slit to see out.
You'd think that they have their own eyes and brains engaged to make
decisions and not rely on the SatNav (European model of the GPS). I
used to think that the SatNav was idiot proof, but perhaps
According to the records kept by a motorist
club, one motorist ignored common sense and, following his GPS
command, drove straight into a "closed for construction" sign.
Luckily, though he hit a pile of sand at high speed, he was not
Another motorist, listened to the GPS command
tell her to turn left in one mile and after putting on the mile
counter, she turned left exactly after one mile--and crashed head on into a
temporary concrete traffic barrier.
A few weeks later, a motorist following the
GPS command which said "Turn right now!" jerked the wheel over and
crashed into a thankfully empty roadside restroom hut which was
situated 90 feet before the crossing he was meant to take. By
blindly following the computerized GPS, the man caused $2,600 in
Though this news item has a humorous
touch we can learn a serious lesson from it. There are times that we
do things without making use of our G‑d given brain and act as if we
are listening to a computerized voice with our eyes closed.
For some people it's following the fashion
industry which generates a need to buy more and more, for others
it's keeping up with the Joneses, or blindly follow friends that lead them to
all the wrong places. These people are following some
sort of external GPS system instead of using their
The next time we take action we should ask ourselves, "Does this decision make sense? Or am I carelessly
plowing into a roadside sign by following a system that has commandeered my brain and G‑d given powers of choice?"