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Drivers risk lives to correct sat navsBack

SatNavDo you rely too much on your sat nav? A recent survey has found that 15% of drivers have admitted to making illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct errors made when following instructions from a sat nav.

A survey conducted by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line discovered that more than one in 7 people admitted to putting themselves and other road users at risk by relying too heavily on their sat nav.

Results from the survey found that one in 14 drivers have had a near miss or had to swerve or brake to avoid a hazard whilst distracted by a sat nav, which rose to one in 10 among young drivers between the ages of 17-24 years.

If used correctly, a voice activated satellite navigation system can be very helpful to drivers as it stops them having to use a visual display or map and they can navigate their way to a place without taking their eyes off the road. However, there is evidence to suggest that people are relying too heavily on what is essentially a computer, to tell them how best to get from A to B. Relying on a sat nav can also make you drive faster and become less observant – factors that could contribute towards an accident.

Through Brake’s latest ‘drive smart campaign’, the charity is asking drivers to make a new year’s resolution to stay alert and keep their mind and eyes on the road. One way to achieve this is to programme a sat nav before setting off and not attempting to re-programme it or become distracted by a stereo or mobile phone whilst driving.

Research has shown that almost all drivers are unable to multi-task successfully behind the wheel, and when attempts are made to do so, driving performance can be badly affected. In fact, carrying out a secondary activity whilst driving can mean you are three times more likely to crash.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“Sat-navs 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. However, there are potential pitfalls to be wary of that can pose a real danger to yourself and other road users. Remember, the sat-nav is there to help you keep focused on driving rather than worry about directions, but it’s not there to make all the decisions for you. Driving is an unpredictable activity, so you still need to look at signs, particularly those warning of hazards or speed limits, and watch for people and unexpected problems.

“For many drivers there is an increasing array of technological temptations that can pose a deadly distraction; it’s essential to resist to ensure you and others arrive safely. Brake’s advice is: set your sat-nav and radio before you set off, put your phone in the boot and ensure you’re not tempted to do anything that will take your mind or eyes off the road while driving.”

For more information about Brake’s drive smart campaign visit: www.brake.org.uk/drivesmart.

Posted by Leana Kell on 08/01/2015