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‘Turn around when possible’, a well known phrase for any sat-nav owner. Many of us have embraced the sat-nav, however we have also undoubtedly experienced the frustration of getting lost using one.

But is the sat-nav turning us into a nation of risky drivers? A recent survey by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line, found that 15% of drivers who use a sat-nav have made dangerous manoeuvres to correct their mistakes. Not only are these moves illegal, they also risk putting themselves or other road users at risk.

When used correctly, the sat-nav can be safer than using the traditional paper map as it allows you to navigate without taking your eyes off the road. Plus being able to download the Darth Vader voiceover is a bonus. If you are not a fan of the paper map of sat-nav, there’s always the footnav…yes really.

Brake and Direct Line are calling on drivers to stay alert and keep their minds on the road. Including programming the sat-nav before setting off and not messing with it whilst on the road. Multi-tasking is a struggle while stationary, so don’t attempt it in your car as your driving performance will be affected. Research has shown that if you carry out a secondary activity whilst driving, you are two to three times more likely to crash.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, 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. Remember, the sat-nav is there to help you keep focused on driving rather than worry about directions, but it’s not there to make all the decisions for you. 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; it’s essential to resist to ensure you and others arrive safely. 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.”

So to summarise and possibly point out the obvious…don’t get distracted by your many technological gadgets and always maintain concentration on the road. Simple really!

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