Road atlas vs sat nav

Atlas users likely to get lost

14 July 2011

Nearly 60% of drivers have got lost in the past year and one in ten have been lost in just the last week.

According to latest AA Populus panel poll, women are more likely than men to get lost with over two thirds (69%) losing their way compared to just over half (54%) of men.

Atlas vs Sat Nav

The younger drivers who rely on modern technology for their navigational needs are the most prone to losing their way, while those relying on atlases are most accomplished at route planning.

Drivers over 65 years old, are most likely to carry an atlas to aid journey planning (95%) resulting in over half of this age group (54%) navigating successfully in the past year.

In contrast, 82% of drivers aged 18-24 years old have been lost in the last year, and this is the age group least likely to carry an atlas – 30% never carry one. The younger age group are much more likely to have a sat nav – over half (52%) of the younger age group have a sat nav compared to just 28% of the over 65s.

Of those who have a sat nav (61%), only 14% trust the system not to get them lost so it's no surprise that two thirds always carry a road atlas in their car on unfamiliar journeys.

Atlases are likely to be out-of-date though – three quarters said the atlas they carry is not this year's.


According to Edmund King, President of the AA, "Lost and disoriented motorists cause congestion on the roads and compromise safety as they struggle to find the right routes. Getting lost uses more fuel, add to congestion and can lead to road rage or passenger rage. "This study showing that 60% of drivers have been lost in the last year highlights the importance of having an up-to-date atlas to supplement whatever navigation methods you use".