Are sat-navs causing more trouble than they’re worth?

While no one can really argue that new motoring technology hasn’t made modern cars safer and more efficient, it sometimes seems that complex sat-nav systems can be frustrating and troublesome when they feed drivers inaccurate driving directions.

However, there’s more to worry about than just taking the wrong motorway because your sat-nav tells you to do so, according to a recent survey. Relying upon sat-navs to find your way could lead to some drivers’ actually losing some of their acumen behind the wheel, as people pay more attention to the little screen fitted to their windscreen than they do to the things going on around them on the road, much like people who speak on mobile phones can easily become distracted to the point where their driving ability becomes moderately to severely impaired.

The research study found that test subjects, who were asked to perform a number of tasks in a driving simulator, drove more safely without the aid of a sat-nav. In a case of ‘less is more,’ many drivers found it much easier to keep their attention on the road with a set of simplified instructions instead of the information overload that can sometimes accompany sat-navs.

The kinds of errors caused by paying too much attention to a sat-nav included negleting to keep an eye out for pedestrians, speeding up, and swerving across the road, and any of these could lead to the kinds of car accidents that could lead to massive motor car insurance claims and even fatal injuries for those involved.  However, the survey did find that verbally instructing drivers was the least distracting, and in fact was one of the best ways to provide important information to motorists, which could influence the design of satnavs in the future.

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