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Why You Should Put Away Your Cell and Read a Road Map

Smiling young couple wearing sunglasses in car. They drive using a road map and not their cellphone GPS.

You’re driving across California. As the undulating hill country turns into dusty, sagebrush-dotted desert, your cell phone service drops. You know exactly where. It happens every time. This drive, unlike the many other trips you’ve taken through the Golden State, requires a few construction-related detours. That means you aren’t sure where to stop for gas, which tiny desert towns will have food, and how much longer it’ll take. In situations like these, our dependence on Google Maps and other direction-giving mobile apps reveals itself. We rarely need to use other navigational resources as long as our phones are charged and in range. But should we be so reliant on our mobile devices and their satellite-dependent navigation? Probably not. In honor of National Read a Road Map Day, we’ve outlined why you should put down your cell and pick up a road map.

Road maps have detailed topography and road information in areas where mobile device apps don’t.

If you’ve ever driven through Death Valley, the Eastern Sierra, or Shasta-Trinity National Forest, you’ve undoubtedly turned onto a dirt road that did not appear in your map app. You continued down that road, as your co-pilot said it would eventually connect with the county road ahead, only to find it comes to a dead end. The county road is close, but it’s on the other side of a bluff, through the forest, about 1,000 feet below where your road ended.

Road maps don’t create these kinds of so-close-but-yet-so-far issues. They have forest and service road information, meaning you’ll be less likely to mistake one of those for a major road. They also have detailed terrain information, which will let you know if you’ll be gaining or losing elevation. This added feature helps you decide, for example, between taking a winding mountain road with your old sedan or taking the longer but flatter state highway.

Road maps facilitate adventures and driver-passenger collaboration.

When you use a mobile device to navigate, the app itself dictates where you are going and which route will be quickest. It’s not an intellectually active experience for the driver or the passenger. Everyone gets to chill and enjoy the scenery. That relaxing, efficient way of traveling skips over one major reason so many people travel in the first place: adventure.

Road maps help to stir up a sense of adventure. As you’re traveling, you see interesting destinations, check how close they are to where you are, and add side trips accordingly. You talk over the destinations and the route with your co-pilot, instead of simply letting the mobile app decide where you’ll both go. It becomes a collaborative, stimulating experience.

So many of us rely on our cell phones to get anywhere in the U.S. Before you head out on your next adventure, review our reasons for reading roadmaps and consider stocking your car with them. It could be the best car insurance plan you’ve purchased yet in California. For more information about auto insurance, contact Freeway Insurance today. Call us at (800) 777-5620 to get your quote.

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