Since the release of satellite navigation systems a few years back, they have frequently been surrounded by stories of innocent (or stupid, depending on which way you look at it) folks cruising up one-way streets or meeting peril face to face at two o’clock in the morning. Strangely, 2009 seems to have seen another sudden increase in reports of satnav problems, leading to motoring.co.uk to publish a survey of British motorists and any issues they may have had with the devices.
So, do satnavs really increase the need for a car insurance claim? One of the most famous recent instances of over-zealous satnav trust occurred with the case of Robert Jones (as reported in The Telegraph last month). Whilst driving on the West Yorkshire Moors, his satellite navigation system instructed him to take what looked like a shortcut, but actually led him towards a cliff edge. Luckily, he managed to escape the near-doomed vehicle as it teetered at the top of the drop in Tolmorden – and if he didn’t need to make a claim on his insurance he was extremely lucky.
Surprisingly, it is not only inexperienced drivers who fall foul to having too much faith in these innocuous devices. Lorry drivers and cab drivers seem to more frequently be finding themselves in similar situations. One such truck driver, Steven Ablett, met a slightly more humorous problem when he persisted to enter an extremely narrow lane, despite the warning signs the led up to it. After realizing that he was stuck in between the high walls either side, he then found it impossible to reverse due to the poor weather conditions and had to sleep in the cab until the following day – subsequently missing his son’s 18th birthday celebrations.
The survey carried out by motoring.co.uk led to some interesting statistics. More than half the people asked (56 percent) admitted that something had gone wrong with their satnav, yet those who lived in the North East of England were less likely to have an issue – which I suppose may be something to do with those driving in the area being more used to unpredictable roads.
Similarly, of men and women asked, 30 percent of men admitted to being led to completely the wrong destination, such as a field. Whilst women, despite stereotypically being worse with gadgetry, were more likely to follow their instincts against the will of the satnav – and only 20 percent admitted any problems.
The survey also showed that the majority of satnav owners had shouted at their machine, and even had prolonged conversations with it!