IAM aren’t ‘sat-nags’. Let us map you to happy motoring

This week, the IAM's chief examiner, Peter Rodger, is sharing advice with drivers about operating a satellite navigation system safely. Here are his top seven tips to help navigate you through your journey.

  1. Before setting off make sure you have an idea of the route. Knowing your north from your south can help you check the sat nav is not sending you to the wrong destination and means you don't have to rely on it for the whole time.
  2. Carry a road atlas with you – you might need it if you have wrongly programmed your satellite navigation system. Also, you might need a backup in the unlikely event of the GPS signal failing. Whatever you do, never drive around aimlessly in hope that a lost signal will come back again.
  3. If you are using a detachable satellite navigation system make sure it is fully charged before starting your journey. You will also need to check that the screen is bright enough for you to read from it, but not too bright that it distracts you from essential car systems. The volume should also be adjusted to ensure you can hear everything clearly.
  4. It's important to mount the navigation system on your windscreen correctly, where the positioning of it doesn't compromise what you see ahead. Ideally, put it on the side of your windscreen so you can easily see it from the corner of your eye.
  5. If your car comes with a built-in satellite navigation system you will need to familiarise yourself with how your system operates as each manufacturers' is different.
  6. Touchscreens can be difficult to operate when you are trying to programme in a destination. Make sure you programme in your destination before starting your journey, or ask a fellow passenger to help you programme it if you've already set off. Don't let it be a reason for distraction.
  7. Some sat-nav systems are not modern enough to cope with SMART motorways (those with variable speed limits despite displaying speed limit information.) Be aware that the limit on your sat-nav may not always match the real world limit.

Peter said: "Satellite navigation systems are a terrific benefit for users; they save fuel time and reduce aggravation"

"However they are only useful when used in combination with common sense and other aids to navigation; people need to follow the actual signs as well and not be over-reliant on technology to get them out of trouble each and every time."


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