How To: Avoid Getting Lost

It's dark and late. You drive very slowly and try to figure out all the street names. Your new lover is sitting next to you. You give her a reassuring smile. Why did that popular restaurant have to open so far out in the suburbs? "Everything's fine," you tell her with a wink. "We'll be there at the next red light." Unfortunately, you end up at the dump.

You're lost, and you can't hide it anymore. If you're the type of person who hates asking for directions - and trust me, you're not alone - you'll want to take the necessary steps to make sure this never happens again. As men, we would never admit to being lost because it's not manly. That's why you should consider the following tips and become a human compass.

Handy tools

You can use some of the following devices to stay on the right track.


Did you know that maps have been around for almost 4,500 years? Those Babylonians sure didn't get lost in the worst parts of town. Follow their lead and always carry a city map in your car. Today, many maps are in book form, so it's easier than ever to access them in your car. If you're going to a specific destination, you can check out sites like and print out your driving directions.

PDA software

Pocket PCs are not only used for storing phone numbers and playing games while waiting for dental appointments; there is now navigation software on the market that allows you to consult digital maps. Fully customizable, they can indicate the path you need to take to reach your destination.


Undoubtedly the greatest method of navigation since the invention of the sextant, the Global Positioning System works by using satellites to triangulate your position. Not only do you always know where you are, but you can store where you need help getting to. There are now new devices designed specifically for cars. They display your location on a digital map and show you the streets you need to get to your goal. The software is available through a paid subscription - about $20 per month.


Of course, the compass doesn't whisper instructions in your ear in a smooth, silky voice. It doesn't give you the names of the streets you need to take, nor does it tell you the distances between checkpoints. However, a good compass is very helpful because it reveals the direction in which you are traveling. Manufacturers have understood this need and many cars are now equipped with digital compasses. Simply follow the needle, which always points north.

Now some more useful tips to help you find your way ......

Useful tips

Here are some practical tips to help you never go astray.

Step-by-step list

Once you realize that you have to go to an unknown location, open up all your resources and list all the roads you need to take, i.e. I-95 through Springfield, Exit 10, turn right at Lincoln, etc. If you follow the list to the letter, you will soon reach your destination.

Check time and distances

Basically, you have to keep asking yourself, are we there yet? If you know the distance between each checkpoint, whether it's a specific building, road or terrain, you'll always know how far away you are. For example, if you know there is a golf course a mile after the bridge, you will know you are on the right path when you see it. If you don't, you will have to reassess where you are going the wrong way. Again, keep an eye out for landmarks along the way.

Do a test run

Let's say you are on a second date with a beautiful lady who regretfully witnessed you getting lost earlier in the day. Once you know the location of the new trendy nightclub downtown, drive there the night before so you don't humiliate yourself again. When the moment of truth arrives, you will be familiar with the road and know exactly how long it will take to get there.

Learn about the city

Even if you are only planning a temporary visit to this metropolis, it may be worth your time to study the layout of the city. Memorize the locations of major highways and boulevards. That way, if you get lost, you will be able to steer yourself back onto the right path.

Ask a friend

To avoid the embarrassment of going around in circles, ask a friend who knows the neighborhood for the best and fastest way to reach your destination. You may be reluctant to ask other motorists where you are, but there's no shame in asking ahead of time.

Have a cell phone

When you think about it, you realize that this is what cell phones are designed for. In this type of emergency, having a phone justifies the monthly bill. If you find yourself not quite sure where you are or which way to go, call a friend and ask for directions.

Avoid the worst!

Despite our best efforts, it is possible, though unlikely, to get lost. If you do get lost and must ask for directions, stop at a store or gas station instead of asking a pedestrian. That way you won't be exposed to urban hazards. Frankly, getting lost has its advantages. You may discover beautiful parts of the city that you didn't know existed before!