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Satnav blamed for more than 200m worth of damage

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 17 Feb 2012

A poll of 2,000 drivers by Confused.com claims that more than 200m worth of damage to vehicles and property has been caused by satnav errors in the previous year alone.

Regular readers will be familiar with the numerous tales of drivers turning onto railway tracks, driving into docks, attempting to descend mountains via goat tracks etc and whilst it's not difficult to believe that the resulting insurance claims could indeed amount to a tidy sum, what is in some doubt is whether the satnav is to blame.

Satnav is, and always will be, a driver aid. It is not an auto-pilot and if some drivers choose to leave their brains at home, fail to read road signs and ignore the painfully obvious then it's not the fault of the satnav. Blame lies firmly with the driver.

The forthcoming summit, to be held this march by Transport Minister Norman Baker, seeks to get mapping companies, highways authorities and councils to work together. For towns and villages, blighted by map errors which lead HGVs down narrow lanes, this may help, but it will do nothing to reduce the number of accidents and mishaps caused by those drivers devoid of common sense.

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Posted by MaFt on Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:22 am Reply with quote

It doesn't help that a lot of truck drivers opt for a cheapo 50 CAR satnav instead of forking out the extra 150+ for a dedicated Truck satnav with the road widths and options for avoiding them etc etc...

As you say, it's not the satnavs, it's the people who use them or simply have the wrong equipment. If someone took a TomTom in a boat and got lost at sea, or someone with a Navman used it in a light-plane and went into controlled airspace - even The Sun would ridicule them for having the wrong equipment; yet truckers using the wrong equipment (i.e. car sat navs) always seems to get ignored...

It's all about education - how many of these 'satnav gets lorry stuck' stories point out that it could be avoided with 1) some intelligence and 2) the proper equipment?!



Posted by M8TJT on Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:22 am Reply with quote

But as per usual, it will no doubt will cost the people who don't have satnavs, those who have common sense and those look out of the window shedfulls of cash and bring about limited improvement at a cost of loads.

Posted by matthewj on Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:06 am Reply with quote

If you took away all satnavs, would lorries never get stuck in silly situations? I think they still would. You would look at the map beforehand, and you'd think it was going to be okay, and you'd see that the sign says it goes to where you were looking for, and you'd think the lane was a bit narrow but it will probably widen, and then you'd think it will probably just squeeze through.

So yes, let's have a better mapping with unsuitable roads marked as such but also better education that the off the shelf satnav is for cars, and that for other vehicles you should seek a better solution. And how about a concerted effort to get the maps up to date too - taking years before it gets to devices that have a subscription doesn't help either. It breaks down the trust you have in the device, which means that when it tells you that the road ahead is unsuitable, you might not believe it anyway.

Posted by andy-c1 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:59 am Reply with quote

I don't see what all the fuss is about really as the mapping and rout systems are a heck of a lot better than they were with tomtom 2 when they first came out ,back in those days I was constantly coming across barriers roads extremely unfit for cars let alone trucks and all other sorts that I couldn't go down .I've had my TomTom 750 for almost 2 years now and have never had a problem with routing and I often use shortest route to kill time.As for mapping these days is also superb .OK there are still errors but far and few these days and if you come across 1 you just have to use a bit of common sense and read the signs as to there you need to go
This is only for TomTom I can't comment on other Satnavs

TomTom 5001

Posted by Cunninar on Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:01 am Reply with quote

And if someone were to gather pre-SatNav statistics, where HGVs had gone down unsuitable roads - I think they would find a surprisingly similar number of cases. After all - "Unsuitable for HGV" signs have been around for longer than SatNavs!

Posted by Hulky42 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:15 am Reply with quote

As an ex glider pilot, we were warned to keep well clear from air-ways where commercial aircraft fly - at 900 km/h... These pilots fly, using their instruments (including GPS) and usually don't look much outside... But they are trained to do so and their instruments, procedures etc. are designed and certified to do so!

In a car or truck, a GPS navigator is a useful means of support but a map, a guide, traffic signs and 'common sense' should never be ignored. At last, the prise for our GPS navigator is less that 1% of professional navigation systems!

Posted by katabrontes on Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:35 pm Reply with quote

How about this one form the USA Stella Awards fro unbelievably stupid legal cases. Not strictly a SatNav problem but cruise control - no less stupid for all that and I am sure she would have done the same with SatNav if it had been fitted.

This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv
Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.
On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owners manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Posted by Darren on Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:42 pm Reply with quote

Whilst funny, it's not true I'm afraid.

See Snopes.com.

Darren Griffin

Posted by explod on Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:19 pm Reply with quote

Re. mathewj.
There have been specialised hgv road maps readily available for at least the last 15 years which show bridge heights,narrow roads and steep inclines on all roads, and prohibited roads with the appropriate limits, and they don't seem to have done much to reduce the problem.

Posted by Darren on Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:35 pm Reply with quote

explod Wrote:
Re. mathewj.
There have been specialised hgv road maps readily available for at least the last 15 years

15 years? I beg to differ. I went to the Navteq launch of their Transport mapping in 2006 and even then they only claimed 60% coverage.

Darren Griffin

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