April 03, 2011 19:00 ET

Studies by Swinton Suggest That Sat Navs Are Driving Motorists Back to Maps

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - April 3, 2011) - UK drivers are falling out of love with their satellite navigation systems, believing them to be untrustworthy, inaccurate and a major cause of in-car bickering, according to a new study of 3,000 drivers* carried out by leading car insurance retailer Swinton.

The research reveals that 79% of motorists – almost 4 out of 5 drivers – have defied the directions provided by their sat navs, perceiving them to be incorrect or less efficient than an alternative way of reaching their destinations.

Nearly two thirds of drivers – 63% - admit to keeping a "just in case" route map in their vehicles, indicating that despite huge technological advances drivers still have a psychological reliance on traditional methods to direct them to their location.

Studies by the motor insurance retailer, Swinton, also found that in many cases drivers are right not to trust their sat nav.

Motorists reported when sat nav directions are incorrect, the average distance they have been guided away from their intended destination is 5.9 miles.

Over a third of drivers (36%) said that their device has led them 1-5 miles away; a fifth (18%) claimed they have been led 6-10 miles astray, while 4% have ended up more than 21 miles from the desired address.

The research also indicated that men are more 'rebellious' than women when it comes to ignoring a sat nav with 83% of male drivers stating that they regularly defy the suggested directions, compared to 74% of women. In addition over half of motorists (56%) admitted they have argued with a fellow passenger over sat nav directions, with 60% of women admitting to starting the argument. 

There were also regional differences found within the research. Drivers in the East Midlands were found to be the most 'defiant', with 86% regularly disobey instructions from their sat nav; while Bristol drivers are the most trusting - with 25% of drivers always following sat nav guidance.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Chelton, Insurance Development Manager at Swinton, said:

"A sat nav should aid your own navigational abilities rather than replace them. An in-car sat nav is a helpful tool when embarking on a journey and many drivers gain benefit from using one. However, if used incorrectly or if a system is faulty, a sat nav can make a journey extremely stressful and much longer than it needs to be.

"To avoid any destination-related disasters, drivers need to make sure that they have spent time planning their journey in advance, and having a map as a backup is always a good idea."

"Remember - sat nav systems need replacing every three years. Failure to do this might mean your sat nav system becomes faulty and won't work effectively, leading to even more confusion and stress during car journeys."

*Research completed by One Poll, November 2010

About Swinton
  • With 603 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer

  • Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community

  • Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance

  • With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates 

Contact Information