In-car GPS makes you more likely to drive poorly

Satellite navigation devices, the ubiquitous GPS interfaces that many have in their cars, are, it seems, the cause for more than their fair share of accidents and risky driving practices in the UK.

With half of the driving population in the UK having access to one of these devices in their vehicles it shows a significant market penetration for quite a young technology. While the ratio of accidents to the number of devices in use is quite low, and there is no indication of the timeframe that those accidents took place over, it is approximately twice the number of accidents in the UK that lead to personal injury in 2007 (300,000 sat nav accidents versus 182,115 accidents causing injury). It does suggest that drivers with sat nav devices are more likely to find themselves in a minor accident or carry out risky driving practices (1.5 million saying they engaged in sudden manoeuvring, and 5 million having gone against the flow of traffic). When this is considered against a driving population of 14 million with these devices, it makes for a scary statistic - having sat nav devices makes you more likely to drive poorly.

GPS devices fall into the same category as any other in-vehicle distraction, such as kids, mobile phones, passengers, or the radio. It might also be the reason why a number of road safety campaigns have focussed on 'Good Drivers Just Drive' as their key message.

The fact that the survey was sponsored by an insurance company almost guarantees that the figures returned will show sat nav devices in a poor light. Whether the use of sat nav devices has contributed to the overall decline in road fatalities and serious injuries as shown in the Department for Transport link is not known, but it would make for an interesting study and would provide a valuable comparison point.

Does it reduce the risk for serious accidents and injuries by allowing drivers to pre-plan their trips, take alternate routes with lighter traffic loads, or just focus on driving and following the instructions of the GPS (when it gets it right), noting the increased level of risky behaviour reflected in the insurance company's survey?

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carl Jongsma

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?