Satnav mishap misery cure promised at confab
Govt will bang heads together to push latest maps to drivers
Ever get that sinking feeling after your satnav misdirects your car into a ditch? Relax, the government is wading in to help stressed-out drivers get more accurate information from the road-mapping devices.
A summit will kick off in March ahead of local authorities being given more powers to have a bigger say about how their roads appear on satnavs and maps. According to the Department for Transport, part of the problem for drivers is that map updates take many months to filter through from local councils to satnavs.
That means motorists sometimes end up on the wrong road, and local residents get "inappropriate traffic on their doorsteps", the DfT added.
Meanwhile, many drivers apparently fail to update their satnavs to gain access to the latest road-mapping data. Local transport minister Norman Baker is calling on highway authorities, mapping providers and satnav vendors to work more closely together.
“Out of date directions mean misdirected traffic – a scourge of local communities. It is vital highway authorities, mapping companies and satnav manufacturers work more closely together to provide drivers with accurate, up-to-date information on traffic restrictions such as narrow roads or low bridges," said Baker.
“This will help prevent huge lorries from being sent down inappropriate roads and ensure motorists are given the best possible directions.
“The summit is timely because from April we are allowing local authorities to reclassify roads - ensuring A roads are placed where they want traffic to run and lowering the category of road in places they want traffic to avoid - rather than having to come to Whitehall for approval. These powers will help councils make sure that drivers are using suitable routes.”
The government is hoping that the power handed to local authorities will help prevent "misery" for lorry drivers who follow satnav directions and end up stuck in narrow roads.
Quite a few unfortunates, guided only by their satnavs and presumably no commonsense whatsoever, have fallen victim to satnav blindness. These include a student who totalled her car on a level crossing, a woman who plunged a £96k Mercedes into a river, and a Doncaster man who very nearly drove himself off a cliff. Ouch! ®
Fortunately my car has a feature to prevent such SatNav mishaps. It's a clear, covered opening in front of the driver. I call it the "windscreen". By looking through it I can usually detect ditches, cliffs, rivers and level-crossings in time to avoid driving into, off, through and over such hazards.
I have noticed that a number of other cars on the road appear to have the same feature, indeed most do, although some drivers do seem to have mistaken theirs for a SatNav mount point in order to place their gadget in their eye-line while driving...
If the makers made it cost less than the cost of a new sat nav to update it, that might help things...
"Stop using f**king Sat Nav - If you don't know where your going use a map"
As much as I dislike people who blindly follow the advice of the hallowed device (and doubly dislike those who seem to think it's a HUD given the way they position it in the middle of their windscreen), I have almost as much disdain reserved for people who think that satnavs and maps are two completely seperate and incompatible means of navigation.
I grew up in a house full of maps, I spent almost as much time reading maps as I did reading books, and 30-odd years after picking up my first map I still get a tingle down my spine when I look at a finely drawn example of the cartographers art. And yes, every time I embark on a new journey, I plan the whole thing on the map first. But I also then take the satnav with me... As good as my memory is for maps and directions, it isn't photographic, so if anything should occur en-route that requires me to divert from the planned route then instead of having to pull over to refresh my memory of the roads in that area I can let the satnav handle the task of getting me back on track.
So yes, whilst I do believe people (especially those people responsible for getting motor vehicles from A to B) should have at least a basic grounding in the art of map reading, I absolutely don't subscribe to the notion that being able to read a map means that satnavs are redundant.