Warning over satellite navigationSat nav may cause accidents

21 February 2006

Satellite navigation (sat nav) systems can distract drivers and may increase the risk of accidents, according to a new survey.

The systems, which help drivers find the best route to their destination, are fast become Britain's latest 'must-have' technology, thanks to a range of new portable models with prices starting at about GBP 120.

But sat nav could prove fatal for those tempted to program it on the move.

In the survey, carried out by Privilege Insurance, more than one in ten drivers with sat nav admitted they'd used the controls while on the move, and half of these said they'd taken their eyes off the road to do it.

Drivers who admitted to using any navigation aids on the move (including maps) said they spent up to ten seconds doing so at any one time. At 60mph, that means drivers could cover the length of two football pitches before their concentration returns fully to the road ahead.

Large cities are the worst places for sat nav distraction, with over a quarter of those surveyed admitting to using the controls while they drove around town.

Richard Headland, Which? Motoring Editor, said: 'The popularity of sat nav has exploded in the last year, so these findings are worrying.

'You should always program the sat nav before you start your journey, not en route. The best systems prevent you programming them once you're on the move — we'd like to see this become common practice across all manufacturers.'