Using sat nav is reducing our ability to read maps
According to a recent survey of drivers two thirds of people feel more comfortable navigating with a sat nav, whilst four out of five young drivers revealed that they couldn’t use a map and had to rely on electronic guidance. The survey showed that 83% of people questioned did own a road map but only a third of those people actually carried it with them in their cars. 59% of men and 69% of women revealed that they would be lost without satellite navigation.
The Daily Mail reported the findings of the survey which appears to show how reliant British people have become on satellite navigation. The story highlights one of the disadvantages of widespread sat nav use, and how technology appears to be replacing valuable skills like map reading. I’ve considered the pros and cons of drivers using sat nav technology.
Sat nav has many advantages; helping drivers find their way around areas that are new to them as well as helping those who are lost. Another sat nav feature that helps all drivers is speed camera detection technology which stops drivers from picking up unnecessary fines on roads that they are new to. They can help speed up journeys by cutting down time spent driving in the wrong direction, providing the quickest route possible and informing drivers of speed restrictions.
Sat navs are particularly useful for commercial drivers who often spend their time driving through unfamiliar areas and foreign countries. Helping them make deliveries on time, sat nav can also locate relevant truck stops, petrol stations and can inform drivers of relevant traffic information.
Our over–reliance on sat nav is a disadvantage because they can malfunction as all technology does at some point. There are numerous stories of satellite navigation devices having taken drivers to the wrong destination. A recent incident saw a Belgian woman drive 900 miles to Croatia after her sat nav system went wrong. Cases such as this occur around the world and can be dangerous to drivers taken on incorrect routes to remote locations where they can find themselves isolated and without access to petrol.
Truck drivers have been known to block country roads and become stuck on routes chosen by truck sat nav which are not designed to cope with heavy goods vehicles. This causes disruption for local people and authorities as well as preventing drivers from doing their jobs properly. Our reliance on this technology is creating a generation of drivers without good map reading skills. The ability to read a map is particularly useful for navigation when sat nav technology doesn’t work or simply isn’t available.
Using sat nav
If the current trends continue, drivers will have to become experts in operating sat navs as use of paper maps becomes less widespread and more vehicles come with built in satellite navigation systems.
For many drivers learning how to read a map is highly advisable as an insurance policy if your sat nav does malfunction. On the whole sat nav’s are extremely helpful and their use should be encouraged as it can help avoid traffic and make journeys shorter and safer.