Do You Get Lost Often?

The average Brit spends the equivalent of almost two weeks of their life LOST, it has emerged. Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay reports.

Sat Navs

Researchers found despite the rise of tech such as sat nav devices, we typically end up going the wrong way 24 times a year or more than 1,450 times over our lives. It also emerged almost three quarters of us admit to having little or no sense of direction.


Unperturbed by this, almost one in four said they didn’t like asking for directions. But if it got to the point they had to, women were more likely to admit they needed help from a passer-by than men are. Commissioned by Ordnance Survey, the research also found 65 per cent of us are not completely confident we can use a map.


Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, said: “It’s quite surprising to see we spend so much of our lives lost – whether it be in supermarkets, in airports or when visiting somewhere new. Being lost is right up there with the most frustrating things in life, but the results suggest we take a degree of pride in getting to where we want to be – often passing up the chance to ask for help.”

Map Reading

Giles added: “Navigation can be quite a tricky skill, but it’s undoubtedly a useful one to have – sat nav devices and mapping apps are great but being able to read a paper map is a really valuable too. We want people to polish up on their map reading skills, for both paper and digital, to avoid getting lost!”


One third of women think they have a better sense of direction than their partner, but in contrast 60 per cent of men are adamant their navigational skills are stronger than their other half’s.


On average, we’ll wait 13 minutes and 14 seconds before asking someone for directions. But asking for help doesn’t always work out, with 80 per cent admitting they have been confused by the instructions received. Typically we start to get bewildered if the number of individual directions exceeds four. And perhaps as result, 61 per cent have gotten even more lost attempting to follow directions received from a bystander.


The research found sat nav devices are the solution to this for many, with 55 per cent admitting they depend on the tech to avoid getting lost. A whopping 92 per cent said the gadgets get them to where they want to be. Although a quarter have experienced signal failure and around one fifth have forgotten to pay attention to it and gotten lost.


A quarter of those polled said getting lost has landed them in trouble, with some missing out on jobs as result and others missing significant occasions such as funerals.

For more information on map reading, including handy tips, visit: