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Tips for the Directionally Challenged: Prepare & Personalize Directions

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in Directional Sense, Directionally challenged, Tips for the Directionally Challenged, Wayfinding | 0 comments

Tips for the Directionally Challenged: Prepare & Personalize Directions


If you’re directionally challenged, you probably find it stressful and difficult to navigate in and around unfamiliar everyday places. Here are a couple of useful tips: Prepare for all your journeys, large and small, indoors and outdoors. And personalize your directions so they suit you to a T.

To prepare for a drive, unless you use a GPS system, you may rely on online maps and directions, or ask a friend for good old-fashioned spoken directions.

•    Find out the name of your exterior destination. Get the address and the phone number while you’re at it.  This should all be easily available online.

•    If you use online maps and directions, print these out so they’re easy to read. You can choose from a number of options before you print, such as text size, presence or absence of an overview map, and the presence or absence of ads. Add reverse directions too, just in case.

•    Take some time to look at the maps to see the location of your destination in relation to your starting point.

•    Figure out how long it will take to get there. Online mapping services, such as MapQuest or Google Maps, provide travel time right above their step-by-step directions.  If you’re using hard-copy maps and directions, you can ask someone familiar with the route or try to figure out the distance, or you can do it yourself.  If you want to figure out how long you’ll be on the road, just divide the distance by your speed.  If your destination is 280 miles away and you think you’ll be driving 70 mpg, it’s a 4 hour trip.

•    Read through the directions before you get into your car. If they seem confusing, verify them with someone knowledgeable.

•    Personalize online directions by adding notes, highlighting them, or even rewriting them in your own words. Make sure you can read them easily.

•    Find out about parking. You’ll save time and avoid walking long distances if you park in the recommended area!

•    If a friend gives you spoken directions, ask for the kind of information you need, including the amount of detail (a lot or a little) and turning instructions (in rights and lefts or norths and souths).  Be sure to jot down spoken directions.

Now that you’re well prepared, don’t forget to take your printouts and notes as you set out!

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If you’re directionally challenged you need Directional Sense: How to Find Your Way Around, by Janet R. Carpman and Myron A. Grant.


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