The Best In-Car Device

Sat-nav is favourite for more than half of AA members

27 December 2008

The sat-nav seems to be the must-have device for drivers this Christmas1. Two-fifths of AA members polled already have one and 54% of these believe it to be the best device they have ever had in their car, according to a new AA Populus poll of 7380 members.

So what can those who got a new sat-nav for Christmas look forward to?

  • 61% of respondents agreed that their sat-nav had stopped them getting lost countless times
  • Only 10% disagreed
  • 44% use it very frequently
  • Almost half (49%) are worried that it might get stolen
  • Only 4% strongly agree they are worried it might take them to somewhere they do not want to go
  • Almost half (47%) disagree that they are worried
  • But 30% of respondents say that their sat nav has taken them to a place that they did not want to go with 44% disagreeing
  • Three-quarters with a sat nav still carry a road atlas
  • 22% of respondents agree that their sat-nav sometimes distracts them when they are driving (3% strongly agree) but almost half (45%) disagree
  • 38% of respondents with a sat-nav would prefer a female voice to a male voice although 44% didn't mind either way

AA comment

Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said: "Satellite Navigation systems are brilliant devices if used safely. A majority of those that have them think they are the best in-car device ever. These devices can enhance safety by reassuring drivers they are on the right route. Often roads are poorly signed so the sat-nav helps as a guide.

"However, the road atlas is still alive and well. We recommend that every driver should have an atlas to back up the sat-nav. You don't want to end up in Stratford, East London if you really wanted the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon."

Survey results in more detail

  • Drivers in Yorkshire and Humberside and the NW were most likely to have a sat-nav (46%) and those in Scotland least likely (30%)
  • Men were much more likely to own one than women, with almost half (47%) owning one compared to less than one-in-three women (30%)
  • The age group most likely to own a sat-nav were 18-24 year olds (43%)
  • The age group least likely to own one were those aged 25 to 34 (38%)
  • Drivers in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside were most worried that their sat-navs would be stolen (55%) and those in the Scotland least worried (39%)
  • Drivers in East Anglia most favoured a female voice giving directions (45%) and those in the South West least favoured this (32%)
  • Drivers in Northern Ireland were least likely to say that sat-nav had prevented them getting lost countless times (50%) and those in London Wales and East Anglia most likely (64%)

The AA's top-ten sat-nav tips

  1. You are driving the car, not the Satnav. If you have an accident or commit an offence, it's your fault
  2. What you see through the windscreen must take priority over what the satnav says. If the road doesn't look suitable, don't use it
  3. You know what sort of vehicle you are driving, the satnav probably doesn't. Watch for signs that could tell you the road isn't suitable for your vehicle
  4. Don't let the satnav dominate your driving - watch the road not the satnav
  5. Put the satnav in a sensible place. Don't create a blind spot, or put it where it could cause injury
  6. Don't try to programme the satnav while you are driving. You know it will take one hand from the wheel, two eyes from the road and a brain from driving
  7. Use all the satnav's features. When driving gets complicated, use the spoken instructions, and/or the simplest display
  8. Check the route is practical before you start. Are you being taken to the right place? If you put in the wrong destination, it will take you to there. Does the route look right?
  9. Update the satnav regularly. Old information can be wrong information
  10. Remember, thieves like satnavs! If it is detachable, always take it out when you leave the car. People tend to hide them in the car, so mounts or suction cap marks attract thieves


Populus polled 7380 drivers between 21-28 November 2008.

1The sat-nav was voted top of the motoring gift wanted list in the AA Populus poll.

More detailed advice on sat-nav safety »

Discounts on sat-navs for AA members »

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27 December 2008