How to navigate a complicated sat nav

Sat navs are even becoming a feature of driving tests

It wasn’t that long ago that sat navs were quite the luxury. A clever, new piece of tech that consigned hefty maps and road trip arguments to the history books, well, kind of.

Now, sat navs are a far more regular part of driving. In fact, it was recently announced that driving tests in the UK will feature a sat nav section when changes come into force later this year.

But despite being more commonplace they can, ironically, still be tricky to navigate.

Thankfully, the team over at IAM RoadSmart have come up with some simple tips for anyone looking to get to grips with a sat nav. Here’s what Head of Driving and Riding Standards, Richard Gladman, has to say.

Do the hard bit before you leave
Most of the time, you know where you want to go before you start driving. So, programme your journey into your sat nav before you set off.

Fiddling with the screen while you drive can be dangerous. If you have to make any changes to your route after you’ve set off, find somewhere safe to park and do it then, not while you’re on the road.

Know your sat nav
How can you activate or mute voice commands quickly? How can you set up live traffic updates? What are some clever shortcuts your machine has? What’s their favourite chocolate?

OK, maybe not the last one… but the other questions matter. Take the time to learn your machine as well as you can, and it’ll make using it a whole lot simpler.

Get a demonstration
If you’re buying a sat nav for the first time, getting a car with a built-in system or moving to a new brand, get a demonstration of how it works. Learning by doing can be useful, but a quick lesson is usually better.

Forget that your phone is a phone
If you’re using a mobile as a sat nav, make sure to do two things: secure the device properly and forget that it’s a phone. Don’t look at any notifications, don’t respond to messages and don’t be distracted. It’s officially just a map, nothing more.

Don’t attract thieves
Some may think that hiding the sat nav away when your car is parked is enough to stop thieves, but IAM RoadSmart suggest one more step; get wiping.

Give your window a wipe to get rid of any tell-tale ring marks that your system may have left behind. That should keep any potential thieves at bay.

Thinking about it, deep down we all miss those old school maps a little bit, right? They never angrily shouted “make a U-turn” at us when we made one tiny mistake…

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