In the past decade, Sat Navs have taken over our driving experience. Traditional forms of navigation have altogether vanished, as slowly but surely map-reading sidekicks have been pushed aside to make room for the ‘perfect’ passenger- Tom Tom.
While this tool has revolutionised the lives of many drivers, making long journeys a far less daunting prospect and leading to dramatically fewer arguments during them, it can be questioned as to whether this piece of genius has gone too far. With Sat Navs being more easily affordable than ever (starting as low as £20.99 and ranging as high as £299 and ‘Maps’ being in the hands of any smartphone user, people have become increasingly reliant on them and in turn staggeringly less aware of their surroundings. As we have come to rely upon and even expect directions to be handed to us, too few of us genuinely know the basic geography of our own areas!
Back in 2010 the DVSA introduced ‘Independent Driving’ within the national driving test. During this section people have to drive from one place to another using their own directions from street signs, demonstrating a seemingly vital skill when learning to drive. However, now even the DVSA are waning under the pressures of The Sat Nav with recent plans to incorporate the use of a Sat Nav during the test (using the TomTom Go 50)! The idea is currently being tested on 100 drivers before it is considered whether to be nationalised or not.
While to DVSA feel this will place learners in a more realistic life situation, others have had varying opinions. Edmund King, President of the AA, said “Not all drivers can afford to own a Sat Nav, nor do they all want to own one… It should not be part of the test!”
As the car industry is no stranger to modern technology, with self-stopping and even self-driving cars being developed as we speak, surely we should continue to embrace these changes rather than resent them? But, in doing so, do we run the risk of completely separating ourselves from any form of a genuine driving experience?
Author: Lydia Garratt
Last modified: 23rd September 2016