Get lost – with a satnav

The recent rise in popularity of the use of satnavs by same day couriers may actually be slowing down deliveries and causing couriers to drive more miles than necessary, if the results a recent experiment conducted by Reader’s Digest magazine is to be believed.

According to a report in The Scotsman, the navigational experiment took the form of a ‘race’ over a 989 mile route between three teams of drivers.

The race was won by a team of men relying on reading road signs and asking directions. In second place was a team of women relying on their map-reading skills and the car relying on satnav finished over an hour and a half later.

So apparently men can ask for directions, women can read maps and satnavs don’t always find the most appropriate routes.

The report goes on to quote Luke Bosdet from the AA: “Unfortunately, many drivers become slaves to their satnavs – turning sharp right on to railway lines, rivers and, in one instance, a toilet on a German building site.”

Sarah Sands from the organisers of the experiment, Reader’s Digest, is quoted as saying “It goes to show that when you’re trying to find remote locations in the Lake District or navigate busy city centres, you’re better off relying on the people who live there, rather than a line on a piece of paper or a computer.”

I’d suggest that the outcome of this experiment might have been very different if the team relying on directions from locals had been trying to find locations in mid-Wales or in central London.

Satnav and asking locals for directions are without doubt useful methods for couriers to find their way around but both have their disadvantages. Satnav is occasionally inaccurate, often suggests less than perfect routes which add miles onto a journey and encourages professional drivers to rely on it far too much.

Asking directions is all very well until you find yourself in an area where the locals aren’t really local or deliberately misdirect people that pronounce their place names wrong.

The real answer is to develop good map-reading skills, a good knowledge of the national road network, make use of postcode location facilities on Multimap and Google Maps etc, ask the locals if you’re stuck and always use your brain first and your satnav second.

Posted under Courier Basics, SatNav

Posted by Alec at 10:36 am, July 12, 2008

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