DriveArchive Article 176

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The Damaging Impact Of Sat Navs Destroying UK Driver Knowledge
  • 89% of Brits can’t name the roads they use daily
  • Only 14% of drivers could pass a basic geography test on the location of ten UK cities
  • 76% of UK drivers are using sat navs for car journeys

Sat navs are destroying drivers’ road knowledge and geography of UK major cities, new research has revealed.

Shockingly, when it came to everyday routes, only 11% of Brits could name the roads they travel on for their daily commutes, with a further 16% unable to identify the roads they use to travel to work.

While, when tasked with a simple geography test on ten UK cities, only a mere 14% of respondents could successfully pass, by naming the cities marked on a map of Britain. Scottish cities were found to be the most confusing, with some of the worst mistakes being people confusing Glasgow for Inverness and Edinburgh for Aberdeen.

Brits also struggled with gauging journey times. Including, only 30% of drivers being able to correctly state the time it would take to drive from Edinburgh to London*.

The research by auto retailer, Peter Vardy, also looked at sat nav usage of UK drivers. It found that over two thirds of UK drivers rely on sat navs for journeys, as they simply do not know or cannot remember the routes they need to take.

Full findings, graphics and methodology can be found here.

Knowledge of the roads seems to be slowly worsening in the UK, with a notable trend between age and driver know-how. Millennials, who have grown up in the digital age, are by far the most reliant on the technology, with 85% using sat navs on trips. This is almost 10% higher than the national average and older counterparts.

Older drivers, proved to be the best at negotiating the asphalt, particularly those over 65. Over a third of these see no need to type destinations into a sat nav, instead opting to rely on their knowledge of the roads.

Peter Vardy found that most drivers were however willing to ditch technology in favour of using more traditional methods when lost. 56% of Brit drivers stated that they would be confident following directions from a map, instead of a sat nav.

Hamish Livingston, Digital Manager at Peter Vardy, said: “We were interested to see how advances in driver technology over the past few years have ultimately impacted drivers’ geographical knowledge.”

“It’s understandable to see why people are using sat navs and mobile map apps - they’re quicker and easier to use than maps and less awkward than having to stop and ask someone for directions.”

“Something that surprised us was how many people were unable to pass a simple geography test and name the roads they travelled on, on their daily commute. It’s becoming clear that people are relying more on technology to get them places instead of relying on their own geographical knowledge.”

© Tushar Parmar 2017