Motorists urged to stay alert when using sat-navs

A road safety charity has warned that reckless use of sat-navs could increase the risk of having an accident on the road.

A survey by Brake, carried out in conjunction with Direct Line Car Insurance, found that as many as one in seven motorists was attempting illegal or dangerous manoeuvres to correct mistakes when using the devices.

Other drivers admitted getting distracted trying to follow instructions; around seven per cent said they had had to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a collision –  potentially putting themselves or others at risk.

Brake is increasingly worried that the gadgets, intended to make journeys easier, are in fact leading drivers to increase their speed and pay less attention to the road.

As part of its drive smart campaign, the charity is calling on all drivers to stay alert; programming their sat-nav before setting off and not attempting to adjust the device while on the road.

Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive, said: “Sat-navs have revolutionised the way many of us drive, helping us get from A to B without worrying about navigation, and there are indications they can make you safer.

“However, there are potential pitfalls to be wary of that can pose a real danger to yourself and other road users. Remember, the sat-nav is there to help you keep focused on driving rather than worry about directions, but it’s not there to make all the decisions for you.

“Driving is an unpredictable activity, so you still need to look at signs, particularly those warning of hazards or speed limits, and watch for people and unexpected problems.”

A previous study suggested that more than a fifth of crashes were caused by distractions at the wheel and research has previously demonstrated how multi-tasking can dramatically impair people’s ability to drive.

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