Sat nav safety

Ten tips to get the most out of your sat nav

1 in 3 say their sat nav has taken them somewhere they didn't want to go

1 in 3 say their sat nav has taken them somewhere they didn't want to go

More than half of AA members with a sat nav have said that it is the best device they've ever had in their car but 22% admit that the sat nav sometimes distracts them and almost one in three (30%) said their sat nav had taken them to a place they didn't want to go.

Younger drivers (18-24) 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.

Overall only 14% trust the sat nav not to get them lost so it's no surprise that two thirds always carry a road atlas in their car on unfamiliar journeys.

Whatever your age it's important that you understand the limitations of a sat nav system so that you can get the best out of it without getting into trouble.

  1. You're driving, not the sat nav
    You can't blame the sat nav if you commit an offence or have an accident. It's your fault.
  2. Trust your eyes not the sat nav
    People have been marooned in fords, driven into rivers and down railways because their sat nav told them to. If the road looks wrong, don't take it.
  3. You know what you're driving, the sat nav probably doesn't
    If you have a large vehicle or a caravan, you can't be sure that a road is suitable just because the sat nav tells you to go down it. Watch for signs.
  4. Watch the road not the sat nav
    A sat nav can give all sorts of information about where you are going, much of which you don't need.
  5. Don't block your view of the road
    The sat nav should be in your line of sight. You don't want to have to look down or turn your head a long way, but it should not block your view of the road. Put it where it won't injure anyone in an accident.
  6. Don't try to programme the sat nav while driving
    Programming on the move will take one hand from the wheel, two eyes from the road and a brain from driving. Always pull over before adjusting settings.
  7. Use all of the features
    On a complicated, busy roundabout, it is unwise to take your eyes off the road to look at the sat nav, and much better to receive spoken instructions.
  8. Check the route is practical before you go
    Is the sat nav taking you to the right Farnborough? Hampshire, Warwickshire or Kent? If you put in the wrong destination, it will take you to the wrong destination. Does the route look right?
  9. Update the sat nav regularly
    It needs to know about new roads, new traffic systems and generally keep itself up to date.
  10. Thieves like sat navs too
    If it's detachable, always take it out when you leave the car. Mounts or suction cap marks also attract thieves as they know that drivers who remove the sat nav from the window tend to leave it in the car.

(5 December 2011)