Do you remember taking cross-country road trips with your family as a child, and tracing the highways in an oversized road atlas with your finger? Maybe you remember taking those same trips as a young adult, and having to pull onto the side of the road to locate your route on a paper map.
Even if neither of those auto-navigation remembrances ring a bell, there’s a good chance you can still recall the experience of logging onto the MapQuest or Google Maps websites for your driving directions, and then printing them out before leaving the house.
Don’t get us wrong: We definitely believe that there’s something to be said for the nostalgic memories of auto travel. But the truth is that when it comes to maps, directions, and auto navigation in general, technology has made the process of getting from point A to point B in a vehicle an almost foolproof experience.
We’re referring, of course, to the modern GPS navigation device.
The experience of driving down unfamiliar roads and highways suddenly became a whole lot simpler in the mid-2000s, which was roughly when in-car GPS navigation devices began catching on en masse. Almost overnight, the days of pulling onto the shoulder to wrestle with an enormous paper map were over.
In fact, thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of navigation consoles, even MapQuest and similar map-based websites have lately begun falling out of favor. Indeed, a vehicle without an LCD display command center today is practically considered suspect.
Your In-Car Navigation System Has a Potentially Expensive and Dangerous Downside
There is a downside, however, to having GPS navigation displays installed in just about every motor vehicle on the market today: The graphics on the displays can occasionally be very hard to see.
On some screens, excessive glare from the sun can nearly drown out any text or graphics, which can potentially be very dangerous. And there’s definitely nothing safe about squinting at your GPS display while you’re supposed to be concentrating on the road.
That’s not all: Drivers who wear glare-reducing polarized sunglasses while they’re behind the wheel frequently complain about the difficulty of reading their navigation display screens. Polarized sunglasses have become increasing popular over the past few years, and for good reason: they do a great job of reducing the sun’s reflected glare. Still, it’s a known fact that polarized lenses significantly reduce the visibility of images produced by LCD or LED displays. (Your in-car navigation system almost certainly has an LCD display.)