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Outrunning Hurricane Rita by GPS Navigation


Over at slate (via gpstracklog) there is an article about how someone used their GPS navigation system to avoid traffic jams while fleeing Houston from Hurricane Rita.

It took about three hours heading dead west on side-streets before I reached the approach to I-10. It was utterly jammed. Then I remembered my husband’s Christmas present to me last year—a GPS device called the Magellan RoadMate. That may not sound like the most romantic gift, but I spend a lot of time in the car, and a lot of that time on strange roads on the verge of being very, very lost. “Turn on the RoadMate,” I said to my son.

We used the navigator to tack south—past a house inexplicably decorated with four knights in shining armor out front—and got to the interstate, where, indeed, traffic was now moving at 60 mph on four lanes, all of them headed west. There were families picnicking at underpasses, and cars broken down along the road—clearly out of gas—but the traffic moved, so we stayed on until my boss called to tell me that I should get off the highway because it was going to bottleneck in Seguin, where the four lanes went down to two again. We had lost the radio by then, and so were blissfully free of horrifying news.

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