15% of drivers who use a sat-nav make illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes when following sat-nav instructions, according to a survey by Brake.
7% of respondents to the survey of 1,000 drivers said they have had a ‘near miss’ because they were distracted by a sat-nav – rising to 11% among young respondents aged 17-24yrs.
Brake says that when used responsibly a voice-based sat-nav can be safer than a visual display or paper map – but also points to “evidence that relying on a sat-nav can make you drive faster and make you less observant”.
The road safety charity is calling on drivers not to be distracted by the technology being installed in many new cars, including access to social media. Brake is also appealing to the Government to regulate the use of technology that can distract drivers.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, 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.
“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.
“For many drivers there is an increasing array of technological temptations that can pose a deadly distraction.
“Brake’s advice is: set your sat-nav and radio before you set off, put your phone in the boot and ensure you’re not tempted to do anything that will take your mind or eyes off the road while driving.”