Car Navigation Systems vs. Smartphone Navigation

 In Blog

Anyone remember having to pull over at a gas station to ask for directions or pulling off to the side of the road to look at a map? We’ll forgive you if you don’t. With the advent of smart technology, WiFi, and data plans, road atlases have been a relic for a decade and a half.

For almost any trip, from a cross-country trek to directions to a new restaurant, wireless technology has been helping us get from point A to point B. We used to print out directions from or use GPS systems to lead the way. The earliest iterations had the occasional hiccup, but still got us where we needed to go.

Today, smartphone adds like Google Maps and Apple Maps will give us directions, point out heavy traffic, and a host of other features. With all of that info at our fingertips, a few individuals have a hard time keeping their eyes on the road, preferring to read texts or update social media.

It didn’t take long for jurisdictions to realize the danger of using navigation apps – or any other app – on smartphones while on the road. Hands-free options are pretty commonplace now, allowing the directionally-challenged to get the directions they need without putting themselves, or others, in danger.

Car manufacturers also took notice. Drivers would be hard-pressed to find a newer model vehicle without some sort of dedicated car GPS system already included. In both cases, using navigation devices in the car will require a data plan of some sort.

Even early iterations of GPS services for the car needed access to satellites to get information on the road. Garmin, TomTom, and other companies have been producing accessories outfitted with GPS chips for more than three decades. However, built-in GPS systems didn’t hit the mainstream until 1995.

Mobile phones have been able to give us map updates from a variety of smartphone apps and vehicles with built-in navigation systems have become the norm over the last decade. Which equipment is best? After all, why pay for service for two different devices that essentially do the same thing?

With newer cars, stereo systems, and aftermarket GPS systems, phone apps such as Apple Carplay and Android Auto can be loaded on to the dashboard. So you can have the versatility of an app with the ease of use of an in-dash monitor.

Traffic updates, voice commands, and even highlighting points of interest nearby can be had on both systems. Drivers can even hook their devices directly into a dash system to take phone calls or read texts. Essentially, it comes down to what you’re most comfortable using.

Distracted Driving Penalties

Just remember to keep your eyes on the road. You don’t want to be cited, have to pay a fine, or worse yet – cause an accident. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that 30 percent of fatal car accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Those observed on a smartphone make up 70 percent of all distracted driver crashes in Washington State.

In 2017, Washington enacted a distracted driving law, which penalizes drivers for concentrating on something other than driving. This includes fiddling with your coffee, applying makeup, reading a book (believe it or not), or holding your phone while one the road. The first fine is $136, the second is $234, and either instance will be reported to your insurance company.

Violations have more bite in Oregon: the first offense without causing a crash is a class B felony with a max fine of $1,000. The second non-crash violation, or if the first incident was an accident, the fine is a maximum of $2,000 and a class A felony. A third violation in 10 years could bring a six-month stay in jail and a fine of $2,500.

In both states, violations will become a part of your driving history. However, you are allowed to use “one-touch” actions on your phone while driving, pulled over on the side of the road, or in a designated parking area. You are not allowed to use devices while at a stoplight, stop sign, or stuck in traffic. Drivers are allowed to summon emergency vehicles if needed.

Need your smartphone after getting a flat tire, running out of gas, another roadside issue? Get your car to a safe location and then call Chappelle’s Towing. We have two locations in Clark County, so we’re able to reach you ASAP. Find yourself with car issues? Contact Chappelle’s for fast, courteous, and professional service.

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