For a lot of Americans in the early years of the 21st century, the world can seem safer than it actually is. A certain degree of risk exists, not just when we go out into the larger world, but even in the relative safety of our own homes. That’s the bad news, but there is good news, and that’s the fact that GPS and other tracking solutions can save your life. Literally.

We know, it sounds a little grandiose. When most of us think of GPS, we think of a screen in our car that helps us get to where we’re going. But remember that global positioning technology is only a few decades old, and it really hasn’t been available to the public for that long. As time goes on, we’re able to figure out different and unique technological applications, as well as stretching our creativity to figure out new uses. Read on for 5 ways that GPS could help to get you out of a tight spot.

  1. GPS is becoming an invaluable tool, especially when it comes to helping out first responders. During an emergency situation, firefighters and other rescue workers can wear a jumpsuit that has a GPS system wired into it. The internal sensors send a signal back to a central command location. Commanders can view both the vital signs and precise locations of all of their people on the ground.
  2. Not long ago, Honda developed a GPS system that has helped to save the lives of motorcyclists. The system not only logs the position of the vehicle it’s installed in, but also has the ability to detect other vehicles, particularly ones on a collision course. When the rider arrives at an intersection, the system can notify them of oncoming traffic. It’s an innovative enough system that other vehicle manufacturers are considering adopting the tech.
  3. Many of us own smartphones, which means many of us have a personal tracking device at our disposal. These applications can mean the difference between life and death when a person is hiking, climbing, snowboarding, or otherwise enjoying the wilderness. There have been numerous cases where an accident has happened or a person has gotten lost. Their GPS app allowed rescuers to find them and bring them to safety.
  4. From time to time, police will become involved in a car chase. When vehicles are traveling at dangerously high speeds, fatalities can occur between drivers and innocent bystanders. But a new GPS-based technology has been developed where law enforcement can fire a projectile containing a GPS tracker at a target vehicle. The projectile is highly sticky, which makes it easy to adhere to another car. The location of a suspect is relayed back to dispatch, and their location can be tracked without running the risk of a high-speed fatality.
  5. For people afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, as the condition progresses, a person can lose their bearings and begin wandering. Numerous companies have devised tracking solutions for people with dementia, so that caregivers always know the location of their patients. GPS systems are installed in phones, bracelets, and even embedded within shoes.