Blindly following the commands of an in-car satnav without thinking could be placing drivers in mortal danger, according to safety charity Brake.
A survey released by the group has shown that as many as one in seven drivers have made illegal manoeuvres to correct mistakes while following satnav directions on the road.
The study also claims that one in fourteen drivers have admitted to having to swerve or brake harshly in order to avoid an oncoming collision due to being distracted by satnav devices.
Brake claims that this is putting drivers at increased risk of “a devastating crash”, while it also says there’s evidence that satnav use can make drivers less observant and drive faster.
Technology distracts most high amount of drivers
The data claims that one in fourteen drivers has reported a near miss, though the figure rises to one in ten for drivers aged between 17 and 24. The same number also said that they had been distracted by their car stereo.
Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive, said: “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.
“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.
Brake states that just under a quarter of all collisions could be caused by driver distraction, with drivers multitasking behind the wheel of their cars two to three times as likely to have a crash.
Other studies have found that complex secondary tasks like talking on a phone or texting can increase risk more, with even hands-free phone use still posing a significant risk.
According to the charity, many drivers dupe themselves into distraction by believing that they’re in control of their vehicle, though data shows that drivers are unable to accurately judge distraction.
Negative effect of loud music
Brake states that there’s evidence to suggest that satnav use can increase speed and reduce observation, while listen to loud music can slow reaction times and encourage aggressive driving.
The charity has called on the government to regulate the use of in-car infotainment and navigation systems, and has also called on tougher penalties for distracted drivers, including higher fines.
However, many manufacturers have already attempted to reduce driver distraction behind the wheel, including Jaguar Land Rover’s unique Virtual Windscreen technology.
The manufacturer claims that the system, which beams driver information directly onto the windscreen, will reduce distraction and keep drivers’ eyes on the road to prevent accidents.
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