Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Satellite Navigation

A quiz on the BBC website's magazine section on got me thinking about sat-navs.

Firstly, what happened to good old map reading and knowing what road goes where? I've never been good with memorising things like road names and where they go but I know a few, M25 around London, M1 up from London, M69 from Leicester to Cov (always makes me chuckle) and the best road, up to Lincoln, A46. However, even if I needed to get to Bristol (which is the M4 I happen to know afetr passing by the other week) or Liverpool for example, it only takes a map to figure out how to get there! Laziness, I think, and also missing out on half the fun of road trips!

Now, I only got 1 out of 7 on the quiz, which makes me a dead end apparently, but I am not as completely, ridiculously and amazingly stupid as some of the people featured in this quiz.

Paramedics (you'd think they were quite bright!) were transfering a patient between hospitals in Essex but, after a wrong sat-nav entry, were sent 430 miles out of their way to Manchester! Did they not realise their mistake half way up the country, following signs to 'THE NORTH'?

Or the Christmas shoppers going to Lille in France managed to end up in Lille in Belgium. Did they miss the 'Bienvenue a Belgique' sign as they drove almost 100 miles in the wrong direction?!

Finally, the daughter of Earl Spencer (therefore the niece of Princess Diana), living in Northamptonshire, booked a taxi from her home to Stamford Bridge to see Chelsea play. However, the taxi driver's sat nav mistakenly took him to the village of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, 231 miles away from the stadium in London! There must have been some blatent ignorance or stupidity going on during that journey.

I think that sat-navs are plain bad news. It makes drivers lazy, makes them stupid (apparently so), loses the fun of journey planning and map reading, has an annoying repetitive voice and also can make driving very dangerous. I admit they can help on very long journeys, trips across Europe for example, but usually they are unnecessary and can be dangerous.

Use a map, people!