|Help, Where Am I? SatNav Versus Common Sense|
Satellite navigation systems have become increasingly popular gadgets in recent years. And indeed, it can be extremely helpful if you just need to listen to that friendly voice guiding you safely to your destination, instead of constantly having to stop at the roadside to check your map.
But then again, how often have you been shaking your fists at a driver who has caused you to swerve because they suddenly decide that their high-tech satellite navigation system has told them they need to go right behind the next bend? How many times have you been irritated because a lorry got stuck and blocked the only access road to your destination?
Satnavs have been designed to make driving safer and easier. However, according to recent studies up to 300,000 accidents have been caused by drivers who blindly followed the instructions given by their navigation systems - even if they were clearly wrong; or forced them into dangerous last minute manoeuvres.
On numerous occasions motorists have been told by their satnavs to turn into a road despite a no-entry sign or break any number of other traffic rules, while others have been directed straight into ditches or rivers, not to mention those sent to the wrong location altogether, such as the Syrian lorry driver who, headed for Gibraltar at the southern tip of Spain, instead ended up in Gibraltar Point, England.
It needn’t even come to that: when challenged on their use of satellite navigation systems, many drivers will admit that the instructions given are often confusing, making them hesitate or brake on the road. Some seem to lose all sense of awareness of what is going on around them; sometimes to the point of ignoring traffic lights or pedestrians on a zebra crossing.
Sadly, many motorists take the directions their satnav gives them as the gospel truth and keep following them, even if they ought to be alerted by traffic signs which clearly indicate that their driving is illegal and might endanger not only their own lives but also those of others.
Those who have already caused an accident may have discovered to their dismay that many car insurance companies will not recognise claims for accidents caused by satnav mistakes.
If you are a frequent satnav user, you ought to make absolutely sure such incidents are covered by your car insurance policy. Even better; use your common sense when driving. Buying a satellite navigation system does not include a licence to hand over your responsibilities to a gadget, however technically advanced it may be.