Caravanning and motorhoming staycations are booming but many holidaymakers are unsure where popular areas of the UK are and most motorists rely on their sat nav or mobile phone app to get to their holiday destination – even though they don’t always trust it.
Do drivers rely on their sat nav too much in 2020?
In our recent blog poll of caravan and motorhome owners 89% said they use technology to find their way to their campsite.
Our further research of more than 1000 UK motorists shows that two-thirds use a sat nav for long journeys and nearly half use them for holidays – but almost a third said they didn’t trust the little box on their dash!
It’s probably because a huge 83% of drivers admitted that their sat nav had wrongly directed them and almost one in four (23.5%) blamed their sat nav for causing an accident!
We’ve dealt with numerous motorhome and caravan insurance claims involving a sat nav where caravanners and motorhomers have been sent down narrow roads, single tracks, dead ends, or under low bridges, with the cost of the damage caused ranging from £600 to £32,000.
One motorhomer was directed down a narrow street by their sat nav and collided with three cars and in another claim, a caravanner’s sat nav took them down a dead-end – when they had to reverse they’ve hit a post causing damage almost £5,000 of damage!
Our recent survey also revealed that almost a fifth of drivers admitted that their sat navs made them hesitant on the roads and 17% found following the sat nav’s instructions around city centres was the most difficult.
Your sat nav and the law
If you’re using your phone as a sat-nav to guide you to your campsite then it must be mounted in a hands-free holder. It’s illegal to hold your phone and use it as a map for directions and you must be in full control of your tow car, campervan or motorhome. If you’re involved in an accident or the police think you’re not in control of your vehicle then you could be prosecuted for this or even careless, or dangerous driving.
Worryingly, 15% of drivers admitted that they didn’t mount their sat nav device in a dedicated holder, but instead had it in their lap, in a cup holder or passenger seat!
Portable sat navs attached to the windscreen must also not block your view of the road and the traffic ahead as outlined in the Highway Code.
Knowledge of UK locations
Our sat nav campaign has also shown that many UK motorists rely so much on their sat nav that they find it difficult to accurately pinpoint popular cities on a map, with 18 percent naming the wrong city.
Fifteen percent of motorists surveyed mistook Edinburgh for Aberdeen, with 128 miles between them, over a third thought Cardiff was Swansea, and one in 10 confused London with Cambridge.
And when it came to guessing how long it would take to get from A to B and the distance between cities, many drivers struggled.
More than half thought it would take six hours to drive from Bristol to York – in normal traffic this journey time would get you to the Scottish border!
And a fifth thought it would take five hours to get from Cardiff to Southampton when this journey would actually only take half that time. A five hour road trip from Cardiff would get you down to Dover and on the ferry to Calais!
Our Director Neil Menzies said it was astonishing to find out how much we rely on sat navs and mobile phone apps to take us from A to B, and for common trips, such as going to the shops and work.
“The lack of geographical knowledge outside of our own local areas shows that sat navs have become a huge part in directing us when on long journeys and many assume instant trust in their devices, despite so many admitting that they’ve caused an accident,” he said.
He urged people to stay alert and avoid distractions when driving their tow cars, campervans and motorhomes but also to plan their holiday routes in advance using good old fashioned maps, plus online maps and advice from their campsite or holiday destination to avoid getting into difficulties.