How to get the most out of your sat nav


Satellite navigation systems are a must have these days, but many road users fail to use this travel companion correctly or safely.
In a recent simulator study looking at a variety of distractions, programming a sat nav had the biggest negative impact on driving standards.  Now the Institute of Advanced Motorists has published some tips on how to use sat navs effectively.
· Programme your journey before you set off.  Looking at your sat nav to make changes to your destination is a distraction and may prove dangerous.  If you need to make an alteration, find an appropriate place to stop.
· Get to know your system.  Being able to mute or activate voice commands without having to look at the system will be useful.  Features such as live traffic updates and roadworks warnings will help with planning your arrival time.  A state-of-the-art system will offer route changes where time savings are possible.
· If you are buying a stand-alone unit or picking up your new car with a built in sat-nav, ask for a demonstration of the features.  It can be frustrating trying to ‘educate’ a different system to your way of working
· If you are using your phone as a navigation device, make sure it is securely mounted and programmed prior to departure.  Notifications, message alerts and calls can pop up at any time, but don’t be tempted to respond or touch your phone as you may fall foul of mobile phone legislation.
· Don’t attract thieves.  Remember to take off your sat nav and pop it in the glove compartment and wipe down the window so there are no tell-tale ring marks pointing a thief in the direction of your car.
“Satellite navigation can be a fantastic tool if you use it to help you plan and conduct your journey,” Richard Gladman, Head of Driving & Riding Standards at IAM RoadSmart, said.  “A tale of caution though, it is always a good idea to have an idea where you are going.  Don’t be scared to have a glance on the map.  If I was going to St Ives I could potentially be guided 350 miles out of my way if I relied totally on the navigation unit.  Best to know whether the A14 or the A30 form part of my route.”