Satellite navigation systems – love them or hate them?Satellite navigation, more affectionately known as ‘Sat Navs’ – are now a common feature of modern-day cars. They are extremely useful if you do not have a map handy, if you cannot read a map or have no one to help you navigate. However, they can also be distracting and misleading, so you need to make sure to use them wisely and in the right ways.
First of all, drivers need to be aware that there are different types of Sat Navs available and that not all of them have the same features. The most up to date models will have features that will point out safety cameras to the driver and even what it thinks the speed limit is. Knowing the speed limit is a vital skill for a good driver, but relaying on the Sat Nav can lead you into hot water as they don’t always get it right. In fact, it is best not to trust your Sat Nav and to use it rather as advice to be taken rather than strict rules to be followed.
So why use a Sat Nav? It can be a great tool to get you round new places that you are not too familiar with, and can save you the fuel you might have used if you get lost. Also, it is safer than trying to read a map at the same time as driving. Simply programme in the route before you get underway, and follow the spoken directions. Occasional glances to the screen are fine, but it you are distracted by this put the Sat Nav where you cannot see if, but still hear it. If you take a wrong turn, do not panic! The Sat Nav will recalculate the route and tell you the right direction to go in.
However, there are reasons not to use a Sat Nav. They are considered to be a distraction so if you are distracted by the Sat Nav, if might be safer not to use it all, however they’re becoming so normal to use that some cars have them fitted as standard, and they are part of the new driving test which, at the time of writing, is being trialed. Whether or not the use of the Sat Nav will become part of the driving test, diving instructors should show their learners how to use one correctly and allow them to gain some experience on using one on a driving lesson.
Remember that Sat Navs can cause additional blind sports so putting them in the middle of your windscreen is really not a good idea, since they can obscure your view of the road. Latest crash tests have shown that in the event of a collision the Sat Navs can simply come off the windscreen on impact.
Finally one thing to always remember is that Sat Navs are not always right, especially when it comes to speed limits, they are only as good as the last bit of software that was put on them and they are no defense when issued with a speeding ticket.