Alert Over Unsafe Use Of Navigation Equipment

In-car navigation equipment could be proving to be more of a hindrance than a help to the nation’s drivers, according to new research by safe driver champion, Privilege Insurance.

As satellite navigation systems become as common as CD players the research reveals that over one in ten drivers (11 per cent) have used the controls on their satellite navigation while driving, instead of programming their route before hitting the road. What’s more, over half of these (53 per cent) admit that doing so meant that their eyes were taken off the road, leading to driving danger.

Nearly one in eight (13 per cent) of drivers who use a satellite navigation device while driving confess to not spending any time planning a route they are unfamiliar with prior to setting off, relying heavily on the equipment to get them to their destination.

Its not just misuse of satellite navigation systems that can be a danger to drivers, the Privilege Insurance research reveals. Almost one in four (22 per cent) drivers admitted to reading a map while driving in the last twelve months, with over a quarter of these (26 per cent) doing so at least once per month.

The majority of drivers using any form of navigational equipment while driving (75 per cent) spent up to 10 seconds doing so which, at 60mph, means the drivers would find themselves travelling twice the length of a football pitch* without their full concentration on the road.

The navigational mayhem hotspots are the UK’s cities, according to the Privilege research. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of drivers who used navigational equipment while trying to negotiate their way around, did so in Britain’s urban sprawls, compared to 20 per cent in the countryside and just seven per cent in a small town.

It seems that when it comes to safety, the satellite navigation systems can be more of a distraction to drivers than good, old-fashioned map reading. The Privilege Insurance research reveals that almost one in five (19 per cent) of drivers using the controls of their satellite navigation while driving lost concentration, compared to 17 per cent of those who read a map while behind the wheel.

Ian Parker, Managing Director of Privilege Insurance, said:

"Navigation equipment can be a major distraction while driving. Our research shows even satellite navigation equipment, if used incorrectly, can lead to driver danger. It seems that drivers in the UK are compromising their safety by relying on navigation equipment to get them to their destination, rather than familiarising themselves with their route prior to setting off.

"Privilege urges drivers to spend a few minutes planning their route on a map or Internet route finder so they can concentrate on the road once they set off. Drivers en-route should take a break every two hours anyway and so can use this time to check their location and the next section of the journey. Perhaps safest of all would be for drivers on an unknown route to take a passenger with them and allow them to navigate."

Privilege specialises in offering highly competitive insurance for safe drivers, with a guarantee to beat fully comprehensive renewal quotes for any driver with 4 years+ no claims discount.

22 February 2006 Staff

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