Are sat-nav's more of a hindrance than a help?

The potential dangers that sat-nav systems pose to motorists have been highlighted by a new survey undertaken by road safety charity Brake, in conjunction with Direct Line.

You know when you’ve missed a turning and your sat-nav tells you to turn around where possible? Well, no less than 15 per cent of drivers admitted that they’ve performed some manner of risky U-turn or other dodgy manoeuvre to correct a mistake made when following (or indeed failing to follow) sat-nav instructions.

Drivers are also distracted by sat-navs, with 7 per cent saying that they’ve had a near miss because they were messing with their device (the same percentage said they nearly had a crash due to fiddling with their car stereo).

Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line, commented: “Looking at the sat-nav while your eyes are meant to be on the road is no different from trying to drive with a map in front of you. It's dangerous, and you shouldn't do it. If you're going to use sat-nav to guide you through a journey, better to use a voice-based version so you can keep your eyes on the road.”

He further advised: “If you need to change direction or turn around, do it safely, even if it takes a bit of time to get to the next roundabout rather than doing a U-turn. And if you want to look at the sat-nav, do what you'd do with a map: find somewhere safe to pull over before having a look.”