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[edit] Creating and Using Directions

  • If visiting a company, check their web site for step by step instructions. Often these use local knowledge to avoid problem areas that just looking on a map might not be apparent. If no instructions are available, contact the host of the meeting and get them to email them to you. Trying to copy down instructions over the phone while someone tries to remember the way, "take the second left... I mean the third ", is painful.
  • Simplify the instructions as much as possible by dropping unnecessary wording, "take the third right after the supermarket on the left" could become "<- Supermarket 3rd RIGHT", and print them out in a large font. This makes them much easier to consult in a glance while hurtling along the road. Additionally I Blu-Tack them to the car dashboard as this makes them impossible to drop.
  • Use icons for stops signs (octagon), traffic lights (tall rectangle w/ 3 circles), etc. This make it easier to see at a glance, and easier to write when getting directions.
  • As soon as possible after the visit update the cheat sheet, taking into account bits that were confusing (getting lost is a good indicator!) and file them for possible future visits.
  • Worried about figuring out the route to a client meeting or a job interview? Drive there before the meeting a few days ahead of time, or even the night before. Remember to take traffic into consideration. --Rosso 14:39, 16 May 2005 (EDT)
  • Get directions the way you like them. A lot of men seem to give directions based on compass and length of travel (go north three miles, then west a quarter mile.). A lot of women seem to give directions based on landmarks and directions (go straight until you see the green church, then turn left.). Me, I prefer landmarks and directions - even though I'm not female. No matter - get directions you can comprehend before you let go of the giver.
    • Rather than just writing them down, try to visualize, repeat, and summarize the directions as you are receiving them. If you go over it well enough, you'll have a better idea where you're going and what to look for, so you won't have to refer to your notes while you drive (which could be dangerous), and you won't miss turns and have to double back, either. --steph
    • Even better: repeat them back to the giver of directions: Let's see if I have this right... I turn left at...
  • If you confuse your compass directions.... North is usually easy to remember, and thus south is the other way. For me (U.S.-based), I use the United States: the Gold Rush went to the West, and the East is the other side. So I picture the United States in my head and know that if North is ahead of me, West is left, and East is right.
  • Before leaving to go somewhere, get a phone number (or alternately, give someone your phone number). If one gets lost, one can make a phone call. This is a good use for a passenger and a cell phone! You can also talk someone in if they have a passenger with a cell phone: this is quite common in amateur radio circles at HamFests - people will man the radios and direct people in over the radio.
  • Use the radio! If you're an amateur radio operator, chances are there'll be someone to help you get to where you want to go.
  • Watch out for odd street configurations: some streets might stop at one point and pick up at another. Also watch out for streets with the same name: Davidson Street and Davidson Avenue for example. One place I lived had a Monona Avenue and Monona Drive - and also has a Sheridan Street and a Sheridan Drive.

[edit] (U.S.) Highway Tips

  • Taking a (U.S.) highway? Don't take a "Business Highway" by mistake. Business Highways are the old highway; stick to the one you really want. For example, don't take the exit for Business Highway 20 if you are trying to take Highway 20.
  • If you are taking a highway -- and are certain you are on the right highway -- and the recent signs say nothing at all about the highway you are on -- don't take any of the exits. Stay on the current path - it should be right.
  • To check for the correct highway - watch for little signs just past many of the on-ramps: they'll detail the current highways you are on.
  • If the exit sign says "left" or "right" or some other text in a black on orange sign: it means that lane is Exit Only - move into another!
  • Even if you seem to be going completely the wrong way - trust the highway signs. For example, if the direction of travel is completely against the travel of the highway - take the exit if its labeled as the one you want. Usually, in these cases, the ramp circles completely around to go the right way...

[edit] If You're Lost!

  • If you're in a residential area, look for where "everyone else" is going. You should wind up at a busy road if you follow where most people are going.
  • Ask directions at a gas station. People often know where to go, and they have maps - often times, posted! Another possiblity: stop at a highway-side rest area: most have posted maps.
  • If you turn off the major road looking for your destination - keep track of where you've been in your mind. If you're lost, backtrack.
  • If you are traveling in a particular compass direction (overall), then watch the sun: it'll tell you where east/west is. If you don't pay attention to that sort of thing: the sun sets in the west and rises in the east.
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