Using Sat Navs Safely on the Road

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By Lucia Adams

As of December 2017, the majority of candidates learning to drive will be required to follow a Sat Nav during the independent driving part of the test. The changes to the test reflect how commonplace the use of Sat Navs have become. The majority of drivers already use Sat Navs on a regular basis, so it makes sense to teach the next generation of drivers how to use a Sat Nav safely on the road.

Are Sat Navs Dangerous?

You only need to read a couple of news articles to come to the conclusion that Sat Navs can be a distraction to drivers and can be a contributing factor to Road Traffic Accidents. Many defendants of road traffic accidents in court have blamed the collision on not focussing on the road, due to mobile phones, Sat Navs and other distractions.

Sat Navs supposedly take the stress out of driving. You just need to listen/look out for the prompts on the Sat Nav. But is this safe?

Sat Nav users may become so comfortable relying on their Sat Navs, that it removes the need to observe the roads directional signs and can cause drivers to zone out to an extent, causing an increase in distracted driving.

Sat Navs
Sat Navs

Some Sat Nav users may completely rely on these directions and will have to use the Sat Nav each and every time they go down the same route. Would it not create safer driving if motorists became familiar with the roads they were driving along?

The ability to monitor speed is a benefit for using a Sat Nav. The device will alert you if you are travelling over the speed limit for the road you are driving on. The volume should be turned up so that the prompts can be heard as well as seen, and if you can rely purely on the sound rather than taking your eyes off the road, even better! As long as the prompts do affect the device-users speed, this should lead to good practice for safer driving and may even reduce the risk of Road Traffic Accidents.

Top Tips for Using Sat Navs Safely

  1. Trust your eyes not the Sat Nav. If the route looks wrong, don’t take it!
  2. You know what vehicle you’re in, the Sat Nav doesn’t. If your vehicle is particularly large, the Sat Nav may not realise that you cannot fit down tiny little short cuts.
  3. Do not lose focus of the road. Watch the road not the Sat Nav. Keep the volume up high to avoid having to take your eyes off the road.
  4. Don’t block your view of the road with the Sat Nav. Position in a sensible place in line of your sight.
  5. Ensure the Sat Nav is secured. Having the Sat Nav fall off into the foot-well mid-journey can create great distractions and unsafe driving. Always pull over when safe to do so to pick up the Sat Nav in this instance.
  6. Don’t programme whilst driving. The route should be selected prior to setting off on your journey.
  7. Update the Sat Nav regularly. Avoid issues with new roads.

Concluding Thoughts

Whilst there are pros and cons for the use of Sat Nav, the reality is that the majority of drivers already use a Sat Nav, whether built-in, independent or via smart phone, and this will only increase further in a society of ever-advancing technology. The DVSA’s change to the driving test will ensure that learner drivers are not let loose on the roads with the use of Sat Nav, without first checking that they are safe to do so.

Make sure you follow the tips for using Sat Navs safely on the road to avoid road traffic accidents and potential personal injury claims.

This article was supplied by Aticus Law – Expert Personal Injury Solicitors Manchester.

About Lucia Adams

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