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Poll Says 7 Percent of SatNav Users Admit Near Miss On Roads

Article by: rob brady
Date: 7 Jan 2015

A survey of 1000 people by the road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line suggests that 7% of UK drivers who use satnavs have had a close call on the roads due to their devices distracting them.

Additionally, 15% said they have made illegal or risky manoeuvres when correcting mistakes when following directions.

Obviously it will come as no surprise that spending too long looking or adjusting your satnav when driving is dangerous, but the following reported comment from Direct Line's head of motor insurance, Rob Miles, is perhaps a little surprising. He said that looking at a satnav while driving was "no different from trying to drive with a map in front of you" and therefore should be avoided.

Conversely, Direct Line's partner in the survey, Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend commented: "Satnavs have revolutionised the way many of us drive, helping us get from A to B without worrying about navigation, and there are indications they can make you safer."

I think most would agree that the difference between reading a paper map and following a satnav is substantial. Maybe the more interesting figure would the difference in the amount of accidents there are as a result of the reduction in people trying to read paper maps whilst driving.

Of course road atlases certainly have a continuing place in motoring - many familiarise themselves with their route using a paper map before they set off.

Also, it could be argued that it's foolish not having a paper backup in your car for when your satnav loses a signal in urban canyons, breaks down completely or the smartphone with your directions simply runs out of juice.

You might argue that paper maps don't have the benefit of automated speed camera warnings, which of course warn you to slow down in proven accident black spot areas, but road atlases such as A-Z, Harper Collins and Philips all include PocketGPSWorld's speed camera database on their maps - of course they aren't automated, but they are still a very useful tool.

Yes, there are the die-hards that say they will never buy a satnav and stick to the old fashioned way of doing things, however there is a strong argument for using both paper and digital together... but safely and sensibly!

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Posted by Snudge on Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:17 pm Reply with quote

That comment by Rob Miles is taken slightly out of context - according to THIS, what he actually said was

“Looking at the sat-nav while your eyes are meant to be on the road is no different from trying to drive with a map in front of you. It’s dangerous, and you shouldn’t do it. If you’re going to use sat-nav to guide you through a journey, better to use a voice-based version so you can keep your eyes on the road.”

So there are busy times when your eyes really should be on the road and other times when you can safely glance at the screen and I expect we all agree with that.
Certainly on my motorbike the voice in my earphone is far more useful than the screen which in sunlight is not that visible.

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Posted by IanS100 on Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:39 pm Reply with quote

I wonder how many drivers, without the benefit of a sat nav, have had close calls simply because they have no idea where they are & they're spending too much time looking round for sign posts & inspiration.

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