When maps and road atlases were more common, many drivers took them out and planned their routes beforehand.These days, fewer people feel the need to do so, thanks to in-car satnavs or on phone apps such as Google Maps or Waze.
These technological alternatives bring a lot of advantages, but they’re not without their problems. A lot comes down to how you use them.
It still pays to plan ahead
Whether you plan ahead by checking the app itself, by a route planner on your computer or with a paper map, knowing roughly where you are going helps.
Firstly, it allows you to set off on time
You jump into your car, assuming it will take half an hour to get to your destination, only to find your satnav tells you that at this time of day it will take 45 minutes due to traffic. Many drivers would be tempted to speed to make up time. Even if you are not, you may feel pressured, and it is always better to drive when calm. If you had checked the route the night before, you could left earlier.
Secondly, it reduces the chance of mid-route confusion
You’ve likely seen drivers hesitating at junctions or suddenly pulling across lanes to turn off at the last minute. They can be dangerous, catching others by surprise and leading to a collision.
It often happens when the navigation system is wrong, trying to send someone down a closed road, for example. If you check the map beforehand, you have a better general idea of where you are, making it easier to detour.
Thirdly, using them while driving requires attention
Navigation systems can be great tools, but drivers need to consider how they could affect their safety. If someone crashed into you because they were distracted by an electronic device you need to understand how to claim compensation.