Gone are the days of frantically searching through the tattered pages of old A-Z’s, of assigning a navigator and finding yourself in an inevitable stress-induced argument. We welcomed the arrival of sat navs with open arms, finally given a simple and accessible way of finding a route through unknown roads and newly travelled paths.
And yet, there is a danger of becoming too dependent. The golden rule of being a safe driver is being a focussed driver, a concentrated driver. With over 300,000 driving blunders a year being blamed on the seemingly convenient device, it’s important to recognise the dangers. So, how do you stay safe with a sat nav?
1. Position your satnav correctly
Before you even turn your key in the ignition, ensure that your sat nav is in an easily viewable space, and is not obscuring your view in any way. If possible, the lower-right corner of your windscreen is often the safest position. If unsuitable, simply place it as low down as possible to limit obstruction to your vision.
2. Enter your location before setting off: double check that it’s right
You wouldn’t text on your phone while driving, so why do the same with a sat nav? Enter your location before you leave and keep both eyes on the road during your journey. Make sure that you’ve entered the address correctly to avoid having to change the location while you’re driving!
3. Turn up the volume
Often, it’s safer to listen to the voice feature than it is to look at the screen. On a busy roundabout, it is a far clearer instruction to ‘take the third exit’ than it is to take your eyes off the road and attempt to place yourself on a virtual map. Make sure the voice feature is turned on and the volume loud enough to hear, even over music.
4. Remember, your satnav can’t see what you can
This seems obvious, but people have blindly followed their sat nav into a whole host of slipups. Cars have been marooned in fords, and large lorries have become stuck on small country roads and hairpin turns. These humorous anecdotes are little more than inconvenient, however, stories can easily become far more critical. If a sat nav tells you to go down a one-way street, don’t. There have been cases where drivers have been involved in serious accidents due to following their sat navs misplaced instructions. Stay aware of what is happening on the road in front of you.
5. Keep your satnav updated
One of the benefits of sat navs is their ability to direct the most convenient route and avoid potential delays. Keep your device updated to ensure that it will not attempt to take you down closed roads, and that speed limits are accurate and up to date.
Despite the usefulness of sat navs and the convenience they bring, like anything, they must be used in a responsible way. The underlying message is, don’t rely on your sat nav too much. Keep your eyes on the road, stay aware of what is happening around you, and be prepared to overrule your technology.