Are sat-navs causing havoc on the roads?

Best of Reader Comments: Distraction device or helping hand?
Written by Bethan Jones, Contributor

Best of Reader Comments: Distraction device or helping hand?

Sat-navs not only drive motorists to distraction, they've also been driving silicon.com readers to rage following a recent story concerning the devices.

According to a survey, the in-car gadgets are more trouble than they're worth, causing drivers to be late, take the wrong direction and - more worryingly - infringe the Highway Code.

Instances of drivers being 'forced' to make an illegal turn or hesitate at junctions were highlighted in the study carried out by Direct Line insurers. This prompted many silicon.com readers to argue that regardless of whether a sat-nav device tells you to make a turn, it doesn't actually force you to.

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Simon from Cumbria said: "It's not the sat-nav 'making' the drivers do any of this, it's the drivers doing it to themselves because they are clueless."

In the survey 10 per cent of drivers said their sat-nav had caused them to make a dangerous, late or illegal turn and reader Richard Davies from North Yorkshire said: "I have never heard anything like it in my life...these same 10 per cent would probably jump off a bridge if you told them to!"

An anonymous reader from Hampshire said: "People have to blame something else for their problems," and added that "most sat-nav devices have a start up message indicating the Highway Code rules over a sat-nav instruction".

The survey also suggested that sat-navs cause drivers to lose concentration on the road. However, many readers argued a map is much more of a distraction. Rory Choudhuri asked: "Would those drivers hesitating on a busy road, making a late turn, etc, have been any more or less distracted if they'd had an old-fashioned road atlas open on their knees, or across the steering wheel?"

"Using a sat-nav beats the hell out of mucking around with maps and diagrams," said an anonymous poster from Yorkshire, "how many respondents were asked the same questions in relation to maps?"

However, Lionel A Smith from Fareham added some food for thought by sticking up for those who prefer the more traditional method of map reading: "Practice map reading on a regular basis and plan routes before jumping behind the wheel, then you would proceed much more expeditiously and more safely. If you get lost pull up somewhere safe, consult your map and then proceed…"

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