Thursday, 29 January 2015

Group warns against fiddling with your sat-nav or car radio . . .


Group warns against fiddling with your sat-nav or car radio

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Using a sat nav while driving can be as distracting and dangerous as texting or fiddling with your car radio.

MOTORISTS have been banned from using mobile phones at the wheel for some time, but now road safety charity Brake says sat-navs are dangerous.

And they cautioned drivers against fiddling with their car radio while on the road.

One in seven drivers who use a sat-nav admit to making dodgy U-turns when correcting a mistake, putting themselves or others at risk of a devastating accident, according to the charity's latest survey.

Illegal or risky manoeuvres are not the only danger.

The survey found that one in 14 drivers have had a near miss, having to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a hazard because they were distracted by a sat-nav.

It also found that one in 14 drivers had a near miss because they were fiddling with their in-car stereo player.

A voice-based sat-nav can be safer than a visual display or paper map but there is evidence to show sat-navs have a tendency to make motorists drive faster and be less observant.

Road safety charity Brake is calling on all drivers to make a New Year's resolution to stay alert and keep their mind and eyes on the road.

That means programming your sat-nav before you set off, and not attempting to re-programme it, fiddle with your stereo, use a mobile, or do anything else while driving.

Research shows almost everyone is unable to multi-task at the wheel without driving performance being badly affected.

Carry out a secondary activity and you are two to three times more likely to crash. If you try something complex such as talking on a phone or texting, the risk becomes much greater.

Brake is also urging drivers not to be distracted by the range of technologies being installed in many new cars that have nothing to do with driving, such as access to social media. It is also appealing to the Government to regulate the use of features that can pose a dangerous distraction to drivers.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Sat-navs have revolutionised the way many of us drive and there are indications they can make you safer. However, there are potential pitfalls to be wary of that can pose a real danger to yourself and other road users.

"For many drivers there is an increasing array of technological temptations that can pose a deadly distraction.

"Brake's advice is: set your sat-nav and radio before you set off, put your phone in the boot and ensure you're not tempted to do anything that will take your mind or eyes off the road while driving."

A police spokesman said: "Nothing should be used by a driver which could cause a lapse in concentration or put them at risk of a road traffic collision. We would ask and expect all motorists to drive in accordance with the law at all times."

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