Cheeky GPS Routing

Recently purchased a Garmin Nuvi 760 GPS for the car/motorcycle. All in all, it’s lived up to expectations and does the advertised job. But, it’s not without quirks and annoyances.

It came with a 3-month teaser introduction to the Clear Channel FM traffic service which allows the GPS to “intelligently” determine how bad traffic is and reroute to find the fastest path to your destination. Sounds all well and good, until I actual found some traffic this weekend.

There was a section of “slow-n-go” for a few miles along I880 north while making my way from San Jose to Albany. Normally, 880 would be the preferred route all the way. But, at Hayward, it commanded the following departure:

Cheeky GPS Routing

The blue path is our track. Note the departure from the freeway, only to return right back onto 880! Yes, the GPS’s grand idea to route around the traffic was poach the off-ramp and then merge right back into traffic!

And suddenly, I was THAT person that so infuriates me. The one that zooms up the right lane on I5 and cuts you off just before rear-ending the semi-truck that everyone else in the left lane is patiently waiting in line to pass. The one that tail gates you for a mile, changes lanes 3 different times attempting to weave around you only to end-up back on your ass again, because, yes, in fact, you are actually going faster than everyone else. The one that uses the on/off ramps to pass people — it’s just not polite, and Garmin’s programmers think it’s a good idea!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, later in the trip, it sent me off the road again to a stop-light intersection in order to route around traffic that didn’t exist.  Yes, it was there an hour prior when we started the trip, but had since flushed out while en route. We were very near our destination so I assumed it was time to exit the freeway — but then it wanted us right back on it again, only to exit for real a mile down the road.  It clearly showed there was no traffic in our vicinity, yet, it wasn’t smart enough to note the change in conditions and update the route.

So, lesson learned — if you don’t look ahead at the next 3 turns when it wants you to depart the freeway, good chance it’s doing you no favors.

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