In a world of hi-tech solutions, have you made the transition to sat nav, or do you still rely on your trusty map book?
VynorHill has found maps lacking from time to time:
‘Often the world on the ground was not what was expected from the map and traffic. Road signs could also omit vital information just when it was needed most. Most of these things are taken care of by my sat-nav, and while it may be a lazy way of navigating, for me (whose sense of direction is not that good) it makes every journey that much easier on today’s crowded and impatient road network’
In my own network, most of my friends and family use sat nav for all but the most familiar journeys. Some of them are so reliant on sat nav that if I asked them to tell me the route we’d just taken they wouldn’t be able to tell me. They just automatically follow the directions.
One man and his maps
The main exception to this is my dad. Now, I’ve seen him use sat nav occasionally, mainly on longer journeys where real-time traffic information is useful. But for every new journey, whether sat nav will be involved or not, my dad takes the time to plot out the route, print out maps of different sections and write post-it notes to record which junction number to take and which roads to follow.
His system is very thorough and the process of planning the route means he often doesn’t need to refer to the directions when he’s on the road, because it becomes cemented in his head. It’s also easy for a passenger to turn navigator by working through the carefully organised papers.
Plus, I think, deep down, he genuinely enjoys the experience of planning ahead and it makes him feel more assured of a smooth journey.
Trusting to technology
Does that sound familiar? My dad can’t be the only one who takes the time to get to know a route before setting out. I haven’t had a car for a few years, but on the rare occasions that I do drive, I like to have at least a basic understanding of my route before I get behind the wheel.
It looks like Bishbut feels the same:
‘I do not need a satnav. I managed very well without one before they became available and everyone insisted you had and used one. I would not have one fitted if it was an option; a map and maybe a look at Google maps just to see exactly where I wish to go is all I need. How many people know how to read a map now?’
Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving up all control to a device, especially one that might be out of date or out of juice. When faced with the unexpected, I prefer to make my own decisions about alternative routes or short-cuts.
Malcolm R confirms that it makes sense to do your homework:
‘I do agree we should retain map reading skills both for sheer interest and for usefulness; my ancient tomtom loses satellites from time to time – sometimes for 1/2 hour or more – and the guidance process stops. If you don’t carry a road atlas, can’t read road signs or know the area then you’ve a problem brewing’
My aversion to sat nav is funny, because I’m usually happy to rely on technology for many other day-to-day tasks, so maybe in this one area I’ve simply inherited my preference for maps from my dad.
If you’re going somewhere for the first time, do you make a thorough route plan or would you rather wing it with your sat nav?
This is a guest contribution by Katie Benson. All views expressed her are Katie’s own and not necessarily those shared by Which?.
Which do you prefer to use for long journeys, a paper map or a sat nav?
Map (51%, 1,201 Votes)
Sat nav (46%, 1,095 Votes)
Neither - I'll see where the wind take me (3%, 65 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,361