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Driving tips and other life stuff

How to drive with a satnav

Knowing where you're going is HARD. I have no idea how people managed it for the last 100 years. This country has the most bizarre, twisty-turny, jump-out-at-you road system imaginable. Probably.

Just how exactly are you supposed to find the Romsey Ikea when you've never even heard of Romsey? Putting together the Besvärlig wardrobe with no instructions would be easier.

Enter: the satnav

Quite possibly the most helpful motoring invention of the 21st century beyond actual self-driving cars. Suddenly, people were able to find their friend's house before the dinner party was over, and refusing to ask for directions was no longer grounds for divorce.

Flawless? No. Not even close. It didn't take long for the papers to be full of stories about HGVs getting stuck in duck ponds and people driving off cliffs. Satnavs are a seriously amazing bit of kit - but there are 2 things you need to get your head around to stay safe and sane.

  1. Satnavs shouldn't override sense

    If something seems wrong, it probably is. Do not abandon common sense just because the lady in the box insists you need to go the wrong way down a one-way street.

    This goes for the finer details too: max weight for a particular street, bus lane times, road closures. Your satnav can't make decisions for you - it is a machine. And you're the one that will pay the fine.

  2. Fiddling fingers are a no-no

    Set your destination before you set off and double-check against Google maps to make sure you're going to Birmingham, West Midlands and not Birmingham, Alabama. Think I'm exaggerating? Only slightly: a Syrian truck driver made a 1,600 mile detour when he wound up at Gibraltar Point in England when he'd been hoping for the island of Gibraltar...which is off the coast of Spain.

    Stick your satnav FIRMLY to whatever it needs to stick to and then leave it alone. Once you start driving, you're not allowed to mess with it. Make that a rule in your head. If things are going up the creek and Mrs Satnav is shouting at you, pull over safely and reassess the situation. Do not try to drive while you're frantically stabbing at buttons and swearing.

Satnavs in the driving test

The government is trialling satnav use in the driving test right now in an effort to make the test more like 'real-life' driving.

As most new drivers instantly reach for one after the pass, it seems like a great idea. The first candidate to take the updated test passed, so that's hopeful!

 

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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .