Is your satnav driving you to distraction?

Satnavs have revolutionised driving for many people, but a new report suggests that they could actually be distracting you from driving safely.

The report is based on new research carried out jointly by researchers at Royal Holloway College and Lancaster University and focuses on a number of experiments designed to examine how motorist’s driving abilities were altered when using a satnav.

How using a satnav can affect your driving

Dr Polly Dalton, commenting on the research findings, said "What is interesting is that people were able to follow one simple instruction without any significant impact on their driving.

"But as soon as they had to remember a compound instruction, consisting of two sequential directions, we began to notice a difference in their driving ability.

“There is a need to make these instructions as simple as possible. There is an issue about how much information a brain can retain at one time especially when you are trying to perform another task such as driving.

“The potential danger is that a driver who is memorising a large chunk of information can be distracted from the road ahead.”

Safer driving

With satnav systems being integrated into new car designs, satnav’s are certainly here to stay.

However, it may take a while for driver’s to learn how to safely use them.

These research findings are a timely reminder that if you’re using a satnav, be aware of your speed, and check you aren’t speeding when you should be concentrating on the road ahead.

For more information on safer driving, go to the Think! website There’s also lots of useful road safety facts and resources on the Brake website.

Originally posted on 11/06/2012.

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