back to article Satnav blunders blamed for £200m damages

Satnavs caused more than £200m worth of vehicle damage in the last year and with over three quarters of users misled, our digital roadmap advisors are literally driving us up the wall. Motorists blamed satnavs for £203m of damage over the last 12 months, claims, which polled 2,000 drivers. While 83 per cent …


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  1. DJV Silver badge

    I usually just rely on the bloke with the red flag who walks slowly in front of my jalopy.

  2. Vic

    > Satnavs caused more than £200m worth of vehicle damage

    No they didn't.

    More than £200m of damage was caused by drivers abrogating their responsibilities to a cheap compute device.

    These people need to understand that driving a car is more than just sitting in the front seat...


  3. Jim 59


    Dated maps are a problem. Considering the mapping companies, builders, OS and many others know where every road is, to the centimetre, and when every new road will be opening, to the minute, it is bizarre that a typical satnav is years out of date, even when brand new, and subsequent updates are also years out of date. It is amazing that paper maps are actually more up to date than electronic ones.

    We already pay the OS to make Britain the worlds best mapped country. Why can't we just download updates from them every week ? Either that or there is room for some open source solution. Honestly, distributing up to date map data should be almost a no-op.

    1. Vic

      Re: Maps

      > there is room for some open source solution.


      The maps are OK - I've seen the occasional error[1], but nothing significant.

      There's also an Android app that stores the maps on your SD card - so it works without connectivity. It's not as slick as Google's navigation app, but it's good enough for me.


      [1] It used to show the Itchen Way going through a large wall with a railway behind it. That's fixed now.

      1. Paul 77

        Re: Re: Maps

        I did wonder about that. Apparently you can use them on a Tom-Tom using OpenTom ( , but I have not been brave enough to try it yet!

  4. Richard Pennington 1

    Satnavs in taxis abroad

    I have had the dubious pleasure of visiting partner firms in mainland Europe, and having all sorts of fun with the satnavs in taxis as I tried to get to their offices ...

    (a) Visiting a factory in the less-salubrious suburbs of Paris, the satnav refused to accept the street address of the factory. I had to ask the driver to navigate to another house-number on the street and then point him to the position of the factory.

    (b) Visiting an office in Rijswijk, near the Hague, on one occasion the taxi driver missed a turn. The satnav responded by repeatedly asking him to make a right turn ... which would have meant turning into a canal.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was crewing an ambulance, doing a simple transfer job.

    The driver knew the area around the hospital quite well, but not where we were doing the pick up, so we had Satnav running to find the address and get us back out.

    Fair enough.

    On the way back, I'm talking the patient through where we were going, since they weren't comfortable being bounced around a lot. I got a slight shock when we left the main road a junction too soon, and took the back road to the hospital. Along a road that's not seen resurfacing for many many years.

    The patient did not enjoy this experience much!

    I asked the driver afterwards why we took such an odd route, clearly Satnav's "Shortest route" rather than "Eco route" or "Fastest route", since they knew where the hospital was and how to get there.

    "I've never gone that way before. I wanted to see what route it'd take us"

    I died a little on the inside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I hate too ask... is that Tameside hospital by any chance? The road in is the worst I've ever seen and amubalnces seem to use it with worrying regularit instead of taking the turn further up the road.

      I think they've fixed it now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's a private hospital in Hampshire.

        The experience is worsened by the designers' attitude towards parking.

        "This is not an A&E. We do not take emergency patients. Therefore, we do not need an ambulance bay."

        There were also not enough car parking spaces, so you had the cars all parked up next to the flower beds on the yellow lines (not legally binding ones, due to private land, but a clear "don't park here" message.

        Finding somewhere to park a quite large van, that needs room for a long taillift and room to get off the back of said lift?

        Gah, I ahte that hospital!

  6. Cupboard

    I've got a Garmin sat nav with maps updated less than a month ago.

    I have to say it's location finding is absolutely rubbish. Yesterday for instance, I was going somewhere that isn't on a street, and this is quite a common occurrence for me as a lot of my driving is done in the middle of nowhere. Mr Garmin will not let me go to somewhere that isn't on a street, so it took me to the centre of the postcode, a good 3 miles away from where I actually wanted to be on a single track road* with a LWB Land Rover and trailer. Fun fun fun.

    I get out my Android phone, Google finds the place I'm going to pretty quickly and takes me there. If a search engine company can do it, why can't a company that actually makes sat navs?

    *It didn't have a huge amount of choice about the road tbf, we were going to a farm down a single track road eventually anyway

  7. DaveB

    Turn Right!

    I was driving down the M4 when some 10 miles from any junction my Garmin announced "Turn Right!", given that option would have required me driving into the crash barrier I ignored it. It then went into a "recalculating" and proceeded to allow me to continue on the motorway.

    I think it was board!

    1. Marco Alfarrobinha

      Re: Turn Right!


      Shirley you meant "bored"?

      /Runs away.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Re: Turn Right!

        Or maybe "b0rked"?

        Right behind you.......

        1. Lockwood

          Re: Re: Re: Turn Right!

          My old Satnav (Navsure) had a few great ideas. After the road to the M6 was closed, and trigger signs were set up diverting to the next junction (badly, the square turned to a circle for a short while), Mr Navsure got the idea that just before we crossed the M6, I do a left turn, then I could join the motorway.

          Yes, there was a road going that way, but it was through Sandbach MSA!

          I will often divert from the M3 to M27 E/B via Rownhams MSA and turn again at J3.

          Mr Navsure had a better idea... Turn left just before the petrol station, turn right onto Rownhams Lane, turn right again, then rejoin the motorway. That'd really annoy Roadchef if everyone did that!

  8. Graham Marsden

    "Clueless idiots blamed for £200m damages"

    There, fixed it for you!

    Sat Navs are wonderful tools, but like any tools, need to be used with your brain switched *on*!

  9. b166er

    So are we paying more for our insurance because of these dullards and their TomTomfoolery?

  10. -tim

    What does the future hold?

    When cars get to the point of driving themselves can we look forward to these sorts of wrong turns?

    A major problem with maps is the copyright that governments insist on keeping and trying to make money from. Everyone benefits from more accurate lower costs maps. The taxpayers don't benefit from having them overpriced.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: What does the future hold?

      Actually, it's trivial to argue that the taxpayers do benefit, at least in a monetary sense, quite directly -- the more the maps cost, the less of a tax bite it takes to fund the department or bureau charged with producing them (which is no simple task!), and the more of that cost goes to the people actually making use of the result, that is, the people buying the maps. (And if it all came out of taxes, of course we'd just have people whinging about how much that costs instead.)

  11. MJI Silver badge

    Routes, maps, memory & satnavs

    I normally pre work out a route but rely on memory often. If I have done the route before.

    And last holiday I took a turn too early and ended up in a very narrow twisty lane with a caravan on the back. Half hour later turned around and caravan spare wheel fitted I was back on the correct route.

    It was my fault for not having a map to hand, sat nav was not in use anyway after a previous instance.

    Sat nav - holiday before, well coming out of Cornwall the services I need are not easy to find as they are past the junction and poorly signposted. There are 3 or 4 but only this one is any good. The Shatnav said to stay on the road - went under the bridge and on the right there was the BP garage. It wanted me to drive to the next junction and head back down the dual carriage way to the same junction, about 15 miles more!!!!

    Unfortunately I hit one of my sons when I ripped it out of the window and lobbed it into the back.

    Anyway I ran out of gas near Bridgewater, and filled up in Bristol, I had already decided that 15 miles more, plus the gas is cheaper at Bristol meant stuff it and run on petrol if I ran out.

    Shatnavs are OK to see where you are, but you are better off using O/S maps. I am getting a nice collection of 1/25,000 scale maps now.

    Next time I am using Google street view to print out a picture of the A30 junction so I can be sure it is BP Whitehouse and not the useless ones.

  12. podgerama

    i had a job over christmas at uni way back in the late nineties. I was installing training systems in branches of lloyds tsb bank. I was working all over the country, previously before this job the furthest i had driven from my home (i had only been driving for a few months) was 50 miles from leafy surrey to bluewater in kent.

    I worked in central london, hull, leeds, newcastle and south wales over the course of this job, and i managed to navigate my way everywhere with nothing but an AA atlas.

    while it is possible to get where you need to go using good old fashioned paper maps, the minute you hit a built up area you don't know, you are in trouble. Try finding somewhere legal to pull over for five minutes in london while you check your A-Z, the cctv cameras will be all over you and you will get some lovely letters through the post delightfully telling you you have won the chance to pay westminster council the princely sum of £80.

    Sat navs are a great aid, and in some cases a complete god send, but as has been said, people who are stupid enough to follow them without question are..well..stupid. I have co-pilot on my smartphone, it does what i need, it gets free updates, it gives me a backup when need reassurance on a route. its no replacement for actual knowledge, but who has the time to learn all the routes they need to take ahead of time?.

  13. JP19

    "In 100 yards crash into vehicle on the left"

    What drivel - how do sat navs cause vehicle damage?

    IMO satnavs are a boon, far safer than trying to glance at a map while driving and studying road signs. Far more efficient than stopping to read a map and unlike maps they tell you where *you* are not just where things are.


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