Wednesday, August 26, 2009

giving directions...

No offense meant, but I find that in general females are poor in giving directions...

"You go straight, keep on straight, then when you see junction, then you turn la"
"You go straight, then turn at ESSO la..."
"Go to the round-a-bout then just turn..."
"It's near the shop-lots..."
"I can see Tesco opposite me..."
"When you see traffic light, then turn left..."

These are just some of the very misleading and confusing directions. Let me tell you what's wrong with them...

"You go straight, keep on straight, then when you see junction, then you turn la"
- What kind of junction? T-junction? or just a junction to the left? turn which direction? left or right?

"You go straight, then turn at ESSO la..."
- there's more than 500 ESSO stations in Malaysia, turn at which ESSO station? It is not uncommon to have more than one ESSO stations in close proximity to each other

"Go to the round-a-bout then just turn..."
- typical round-a-bouts have 3 exits. Turn out to which exit?

"It's near the shop-lots..."
- Too vague. What you think is near, may not be near for the driver. Besides, shop-lots are usually surrounded by roads, so when you say near it doesn't indicate which road precisely.

"I can see Tesco opposite me..."
- There's nothing opposite you. Only the road can be opposite you if you are driving, unless you are at a T-junction. Although it is not wrong to say some landmarks are opposite you, it doesn't serve any purpose if you cannot identify the landmarks to a particular road. For all you know, you can see KL Twin towers opposite you in roads across Klang, Shah Alam and Sungai Buloh. So what good is it that you tell someone this? Therefore you should only specify landmarks at the two sides of the road that you are currently on.

"When you see traffic light, then turn left..."
- this is very confusing because the driver would need to know to turn BEFORE, AT or AFTER the traffic light.


Below are some tips for giving good directions:

1. It must be unique, i.e. the directions must lead you to the destination no matter which point of reference the driver is looking at.
e.g. if you say "go straight along Jalan Damansara from Victoria Station" there's actually two ways to view this (not unique). If you go from Victoria Station towards HELP institute it is "along Jalan Damansara", but if you go from Victoria Station towards Damansara Utama it is also "along Jalan Damansara". Hence the driver may get confused. The better way to say this is, "If you are along Jalan Damansara and ALSO if Victoria Station is on your left..." then it is unique - you would have to be on the road going towards HELP institute.

2. For a direction to be unique, two points must be speficied (mathematically this is also true, i.e. on a surface, a unique line or direction can only be obtained when at least two points are specified)
e.g. "Turn left at ESSO" can never be unique. Consider that ESSO is on your left when you are driving up a hill. Turning left means you turn towards the ESSO petrol station. If you are now driving down the hill, ESSO will be on your right. So the direction "turn left at ESSO" would actually mean turning AWAY from the petrol station, i.e. going to the right if you are going uphill. So there could be two different situations (not unique) given the same direction.

3. Use landmarks
Landmarks are buildings or icons or billboards that are easily seen by the driver. It is probably the most useful tool in giving directions. But care must be taken in using landmarks:

i. Use landmarks that are uncommon
e.g. if you use ESSO petrol station as landmarks, please do take note that there is possibility that 2 ESSO stations could be in the same vicinity. If you are thinking of using a tree as a landmark, forget it! This is because there's millions of trees in Malaysia. The driver would never be able to guess which tree you are referring to. (No Kelapa Sawit won't do either). Don't even try giving direction by saying "turn left at this big tree". It's a big NO NO!!

ii. Use landmarks that are closest (preferably along the two sides of the road you are currently on). Landmarks that are most visible may not be the best landmarks because it is so visible, i.e. it can be seen by many people at many locations, it doesn't give a unique direction/location of your wherabouts (refer to 1). But sometimes, visible landmarks are useful when you are completely lost. Because this would at least indicate your approximate location.

iii. Remember that landmarks can only ASSIST the driver in finding the destination, it doesn't define the final location completely. Never give directions, using ONLY landmarks. e.g. don't say "my house is next to TESCO. Because there is at least a few rows of shops and houses next to any TESCO."

2 comments:

郑秋桦 said...

所以呀,问路的人要醒目,不明白就要问~

蔚蓝的...我 said...

赞成秋桦!所以别把一切的错都怪在回答的人。