Despite the apparent popularity of the sat-nav, 83% of whatcar.com readers believe that the paper version – the road atlas, still has a role in the realm of navigation. However, in contrast, an earlier survey by the satellite-navigation manufacturer Snooper, found that only 1 in 15 motorists actually carries an atlas in their car- that’s 13% less than 5 years ago.
So, what is it that’s causing this supposed loyalty to the good old fashioned atlas?
Comments by whatcar.com readers focused largely on the inaccuracies and unreliability that sat- nav systems are guilty of . For example, The Daily Mail recently reported on how approximately 100 motorists in a space of 18 months have had a near miss with plunging into the Severn after their sat- navs directed them to drive across a bridge which didn’t exist- and -has never existed.
The price of a traditional road atlas is also just between 1% and 10% of that of a sat-nav system* and whilst the crease in the centre of the double pages can be annoying- there are no imaginary bridges added in.
However, whilst one can appreciate the convenience of the sat-nav, (e.g. handy for somebody driving alone) sat- nav systems can induce the opposite crime to fumbling about whilst driving – complacency.
The RAC Foundation aims to raise awareness about the safety issues intertwined with the use of sat- nav systems, urging drivers to pay attention to signs, speed limits, road markings and of course the actions of other motorists and pedestrians as they would do without the presence of the computer system. All too often, drivers are under the impression that they can switch to “auto- pilot” and rely on the sat- nav to guide them to their destination safely, when in reality, sat- nav users need to work in partnership with their device in order to account for both technological and human error.