It appears that technology is often developing too fast for the human brain – and so too for the average driver! We now find the best navigation systems in our cars and our handheld devices -but can we understand what to do and are we capable of doing that?

A regular visitor to the Arrive Alive road safety website shared some interesting research results on a study to establish how drivers manage to follow the guidance from their GPS devices. We would like to share a brief overview:

” Satnav systems sometimes send motorists the wrong way but they can also impair their driving ability, according to a study. Drivers’ performance was affected when listening to satnav-style directions in an experiment carried out by Lancaster University and Royal Holloway, University of London.

Volunteers were set tasks by a computer which mimicked the instructions given by a satnav. The results showed that when people were following complicated satnav instructions they tended to drive faster, with more steering variations, as well as being less likely to notice pedestrians who might be stepping out.

Dr Polly Dalton, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, said: “What is interesting is that people were able to follow one simple instruction without any significant impact on their driving.
“But as soon as they had to remember a compound instruction, consisting of two sequential directions, we began to notice a difference in their driving ability.
“A lot of effort has gone into designing visually-friendly satnav devices but our research highlights the importance of the way in which the auditory instructions are given.”

Dr Pragya Agarwal, from Lancaster University, said: “The results from our research have implications for the way these systems can be designed to be more effective and user-friendly in the future.
“With the increasing reliance on technology for navigation, it is important that such technology is designed so that it supports rather than detracts us from our primary task of driving.”

Satnav systems – which track a car’s movements by sending signals to satellites – have become increasingly popular in recent years, driven by their increasing accuracy and functionality like finding petrol stations and warning of speed restrictions and fixed speed cameras. -Belfast Telegraph


Also view:

GPS and Road Safety

HD Traffic around the World

What is HD Traffic and how can it help me to avoid accident claims?

For Live Traffic on your Route view the TomTom Route Planner

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