Sat Nav use may be a serious road accident risk

June 13, 2012

Some recent research has made the suggestion that drivers who like to make use of sat navs may be at far greater risk of being confronted with a compensation claim for personal injury due to a car accident.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of London and the University of Lancaster, using satellite navigation systems and revealed their use can markedly restrict drivers’ sensible behaviour.

The experiments that were conducted laid out specific tasks for volunteers using a computer which copied the instructions that are offered by a sat nav.

The results revealed that when individuals were following complex sat nav instructions they often drove more quickly, with more erratic steering and were less likely to spot unpredictable behaviour of pedestrians.

Dr Dalton, from the Psychology Department at Royal Holloway, stated that people could follow a single simple instruction and it would not affect their driving. However, if the instructions became too numerous and involved a number of different sequences, then the driving would suffer.

The researcher indicated that considerable effort had gone into design features of sat navs so that they were not too distracting and what was of particular importance were the instructions that required listening techniques.

75 percent of the volunteers that took part in the research said that they only made use of the sat nav’s screen as a method for clarifying given instructions.

Auditory techniques have for a long time been seen as the best method for receiving and processing information while driving. However, the research does also indicate that this can lead to safety concerns for motorists.

Dr Dalton said that the results of the research were quite similar to earlier research conducted on mobile phone users and many drivers wrongfully think that using and following instructions from a sat nav is far less dangerous and distracting than holding a mobile phone conversation.

As always, please be careful when driving especially in sunnier weather conditions which can also have a significant effect on visibility for drivers due to the suns low lying position during the Summer months.