How to configure the car’s navigator or GPS

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Long since the GPS – Global Positioning System or Global – Positioning System stopped being a revolutionary invention. Currently, we all have a browser, either integrated in the car or on our smartphone, which has made it a most common and essential product, whether on long trips, for work, or on a day-to-day basis.

It has become clear that there are various options for having a browser in the car. This takes us from one place to another quickly and easily, but sometimes, not configuring it correctly can lead us to assume unnecessary costs – such as a toll – or to live in torture due to the excessive volume of indications.

That is precisely the reason why today I am going to dedicate a few lines to explain in detail the basic configuration of the browser, so that you can get the most out of it and be a help instead of a punishment. You will see that these are a few very simple adjustments, but necessary to customize so that we do not have surprises during the journey.

The GPS must be configured before starting the journey and located in a suitable place for our field of vision, without this or its wiring disturbing us. To avoid battery discharge, it is convenient to plug it into the 12V socket.

The importance of updating the GPS

Some people do not give special importance to updating the browser, but keep in mind that the GPS is designed to save time and reduce fuel consumption. If we do not have the latest version available, the browser could take us along roads that are under construction, cut roads, or even roads that no longer exist, instead of that new splendid highway that has just been opened to traffic.

That is why it is highly recommended to update the browser every so often, especially when we are going to take a long trip. Normally, those with an Internet connection offer us the option of updating automatically. And beware if you are traveling abroad, make sure in advance that the destination is mapped, because you may have to buy an enlargement of the maps.

Control the volume

No less important is adjusting the volume of the browser to avoid startles while driving, cuts in the playback of the music we are listening to, or the absence of some indications that could be important.

Currently, car browsers allow us to select whether we want to hear all the indications, none or only the alerts; if we want the high, low or medium volume; and music volume adjustments when the browser gives us instructions. Additionally, if it is an external browser such as a mobile phone, it may even give us the option to reproduce the indications through the vehicle’s speakers thanks to Bluetooth.

Adjust your preferences in the GPS settings

All GPS has a series of preferences that we can activate or deactivate in the route settings. You must make these adjustments before starting the march, since otherwise they could sanction you with 200 euros and three points of the driving license, even if you do it while the traffic light is red. The most recurring options in browsers are:

  • Avoid tolls: it is convenient to deactivate the tolls option if you do not want to assume additional costs during the trip, but you should also bear in mind that toll roads are normally faster and have less traffic than other motorways or conventional roads.
  • Avoid highways: you may be one of those who like to enjoy the scenery offered by Spanish secondary roads or know the most remote towns, so in these cases, the best option is to avoid highways. Of course, keep in mind the increased traffic and lower speed limits that usually exist on secondary roads.
  • Avoid dirt roads / unpaved tracks:  this option is only recommended when you go with an off-road vehicle, unless you do not mind driving your car on dirt roads, of course. Driving with a conventional vehicle we can damage the car or encounter obstacles that force us to turn around.
  • Avoid ferries: although it is true that sometimes taking a ferry is faster than continuing on the road -to skirt a river or lake, for example-, you may not want to assume the cost of the ferry, or that it is more congested than the road.

Which route to choose?

The vast majority of browsers offer you various route options, among which we can usually find the shortest, fastest, or even the most ecological route. Choosing one route or another will depend on our preferences, but it is important to be clear that the shortest route is not always the fastest. As a general rule, it is advisable to choose the fastest route to avoid twisted routes.

Additionally, those browsers that are connected to the Internet will allow us to select alternative routes if there is an accident or a lot of traffic during our journey, which is always an advantage.

Favorite list: in your browser, you can memorize the points of interest and destinations you use most often or those you will visit on your next trip, so having them already memorized will save you time and trouble. Some GPS even allows you to memorize your home and workplace.

Display modes

Today’s browsers offer multiple viewing options, especially those based on mobile applications or those that integrate the most equipped and luxurious cars. It is important to take them into account so as not to be mistaken with the indications and so that the browser does not disturb us while driving.

The most common display modes and settings in today’s browsers are as follows:

  • The color scheme: this parameter refers to the bright background or brightness of the screen. In day mode bright colors are used to counteract the reflections of sunlight on the screen, while in night mode the colors are turned off to make them more comfortable for dilated pupils. It is advisable to select the automatic mode, so that the browser itself adjusts the brightness according to the external lighting conditions.
  • 2D or 3D view: 2D view is usually much more useful when we want to consult the complete route or traffic (if the car’s navigator offers this function) at some point along the way.
  • Direction of the indications: the most convenient thing is that the indications and the map visualization are configured in the direction of the march, since it will help us to orient ourselves better. Conversely, the north (N) up option may be of some use on mountain roads to ensure that we are driving in the right direction.
  • Units of measurement: It may seem obvious, but GPS allows us to choose between miles or kilometers and an error in its selection can confuse us a lot. In this sense, if you travel to a foreign country where the distance is expressed in miles, remember to change it in your browser.
  • Map type:  some browsers allow us to choose how we want to view the map, whether in conventional or satellite mode. Although satellite mode allows us to see the environment from above to know what is around us (very useful if we are looking for a pleasant place to rest or photograph), it is also more confusing to use when collecting a greater visual load. The conventional map is always the simplest.
  • Show traffic: if the browser you are going to use has this option, it is always advisable to have it activated to avoid being caught in a traffic jam, especially during vacation periods or conflictive hours in the city.
  • Other options: the most complete GPS have numerous complementary functions that we can activate or deactivate, such as the display of gas stations, the reminder of where we have parked, the speed and time of arrival, the selection of a destination without knowing the exact address, the dangerous areas, the selection of the type of vehicle, the displacements by zones with restrictions according to the registration, the displacements according to the environmental mark …

Once you have configured your browser, it is recommended that you always take a look at the route before starting the trip, be proactive and plan certain alternative routes in case there are altercations on the road and, above all, that you use common sense, carefully manipulating the navigator (better than the co-pilot does if you have it) and using logic against possible erroneous indications from the GPS.