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Sat Nav Scare!

Localised re-prioritisation of important routes and a mismatch of road types going from one county to another will be confusing for satnav mapping and drivers who rely on it – and, bizarrely it won’t be their fault.

With the potential for a significant shake-up of road designation as each county changes routes according to local priorities, a dislocated network and on-going changes could create a nightmare for satnav firms trying to get their mapping right. The cost of downloading update after update means that most drivers won’t be up to speed on routes that highway authorities want them to use.

Some local authorities are nervous about implementing the new powers to designate their own routes, because they don’t know if their primary routes will link with what neighbouring areas are doing.

This really is a tad scary actually. You only have to remember some of the horror stories with headlines such as “Sat-Nav directed me into path of train”, or “Satnav’s latest short cut was through a cottage” or “Satnav got truck stuck in tunnel”.  However, thankfully these are few and far between.

If a satnav is used in conjunction with a good atlas and common sense, then they can enhance safety and reduce journey times according to the AA. Hang on a moment; if you need a good atlas and common sense then why bother with a sat nav at all? And what constitutes common sense? The lady, for instance who thought she was being taken to a Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge by taxi but ended up 230 miles away in rural village of Stamford Bridge near York?

OK, like all things in life we need to embrace technology, well I do, but not lose common sense.  Hence a quick glance at a map prior to your journey will give you a good indication of your right direction.  Following a dirt track because the sat nav says turn left is plainly stupid.

As is the driver who tried to turn right on a motorway as the sat nav had told him too, not realising he should in fact leave the motorway first, before tuning right!

Or the women who ended up in a lake as she blindingly carried on driving down a track as the sat nav had told her seemingly unaware a lake was in front of her yet strangely did not think to stop before entering the lake! The mind boggles!

You know, maybe I should write a book on the perils of miss-used sat nav so if you have any stories please send them in. Sure to be a best seller. Idiocy always wins readers hearts!

However now you can be prosecuted for being so rather stupid as was a lorry driver, relying on satnav equipment rather than reading traffic signs informing him there was a 3 tonne weight restriction ahead, has been prosecuted by North Avon Magistrates.

Winchester City Council has become the first in the UK to put up ‘Do not follow sat-nav’ signs near a road often used as a cut-through.  Apparently, drivers follow GPS instructions to turn into the shortcut, but get stuck part way down the lane when the road narrows.

Sat Nav? Sorry to me this is one bit of technology I will not succumb too. Give me a road map and my brain I will, eventually, get to my destination – legally and safely.

Jackie Violet
Motoring Correspondent

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