GPS Tip #2 – “Routing”

This may have been better if it were Tip #1, as I think it is essential to getting an understanding of how the GPS behaves and why it may do some of the things it does that seem confusing.

Tip #2 – “Routing” versus “driving around”.

There are essentially two modes you may find yourself in while driving with a Garmin GPS. You will either be (1) just cruising or driving around, or (2) routing somewhere.

Cruising/Driving around is easy to understand. You haven’t told the GPS to do anything, but it knows where you are and you can see the streets on the screen as you pass by them. This is nice if you just want a general awareness of your surroundings or wonder, “is there an outlet here?” or “what is the street two blocks over?”.

Here’s what the “home” screen looks like when you are NOT routing:

Garmin NOT routing

When you search for and find a destination in the GPS database and tap “Go”, the Garmin will then compute your route and draw it on the screen. You are now routing. There are a few other ways to tell that you’re currently routing:

  • The Garmin is bossing you around
  • You have a magenta line in front of your vehicle on-screen
  • On the “home” screen you have the option to “Stop” (routing).
  • Garmin Routing

Who cares?

Sometimes people don’t realize they are already routing somewhere, so when they put in a new destination and try to go to it, they get a screen like the following:
Garmin Via Screen

This causes confusion. “Why is it asking me this? What does it mean?”

Garmin is just saying that when you tried to go to your new destination, you were already routing somewhere else. Do you want to keep your original destination, but stop at your new destination on the way, or do you just want to scrap your original destination and route straight to the new one?

This is actually a pretty nice feature once you know how to use it. For example, you’re routing to Grandma’s house, 4 hours away. A couple hours into the trip you decide to check out what fast food is nearby at that moment. Once you choose your restaurant, select Go. Then just opt to continue to Grandma’s house by way of your fast food destination. Once you get to the restaurant, Garmin knows and will send you on to your next point.

Happy routing!