Most people only use their TomTom GPS to guide them to a destination they don’t know, but there are advantages to putting in the destination even if you know which way to go.
I’ve recently been riding around with the TomTom Rider 550 tuned into destinations I know, and I reckon the various alerts have not only helped me to get around quicker, but probably saved a few demerit points on my license.
That’s because TomTom Rider 550 includes relevant alerts about traffic jams, roadworks, speed cameras and even on adverse weather ahead of you. It will also tell you how long a particular hazard might hold up your ride.
These alerts flash up on the screen and if you pair the device to your phone and/or helmet intercom, there are also audible warnings.
This has allowed me to concentrate more on the road rather than worrying about looking out for speed cameras, roadworks and hazards.
But wait, there’s more. It also shows important information about upcoming services such as petrol stations, rest areas, tollways and ferries.
And when you reach your destination, it will even guide you to the closest parking areas. Just press the parking button on the route bar.
It takes a lot of guesswork out of negotiating through heavy traffic and around traffic snarls and roadworks.
The GPS could also save your licence with reminders about where and when fixed and mobile speed cameras are located.
The information is displayed on the map and/or the route bar down the side.
It also displays your estimated time of arrival, distance and/or time remaining to destinations, upcoming events and services, as well as current time or distance to the next event, depending on how you set it up.
Now that’s a wealth of information that could easily be distracting were it not for the audible alerts.
You can actually customise the Rider 550 to just display only the alerts that are most important to you. That makes it a much simpler and less distracting screen display.
The GPS can give you an alternative route by just tapping on the icons on the route bar. However, I suggest you pull over to do this. It won’t take more than a few seconds.
You can even help other riders using the TomTom MyDrive app by adding updates to the vast network of important information.
Just tap on the speed panel at the bottom of the screen and a menu comes up with options: “Report speed camera, mark location, change speed limit and avoid blocked road”.
To access all this information, you just need to set up a personal hotspot on your paired smartphone which accesses your data as the GPS doesn’t have a SIM card.
That keeps the GPS affordable at $599.
But don’t worry about blowing all your data.
TomTom says it will only use about 7Mb a month even if you run your GPS on it an hour every day. That’s less than downloading two songs and certainly wouldn’t blow the budget on most people’s mobile plan.
It might also save your life, save you time and save your licence!