Login Register

A third of Britons cannot read a map - and are to ashamed to admit it ​

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

Comments (0)

Research carried out by GPS technology specialists Garmin, to mark their 25th anniversary, reveals that over a third (39%) of people don’t know how to navigate using a traditional map and need to rely on guided directions in order to get them to their destination. As a result one in 10 (16%) admit that they are heavily reliant on a sat nav, even using it for journeys they make often.

Almost half (40%) of people refuse to openly admit when they get lost for fear of embarrassment. Almost a third (29%) refuse to seek help and ask for directions altogether, despite being lost, with over a quarter (27%) more men compared to women who admit to being too proud to ask for directions. This could partly be due to the fact that almost half of people (40%) say that they never update their sat nav software at all.

Arguing over directions continues to be one the biggest driving bugbears with a third (33%) of people revealing that they regularly find themselves in these arguments with their partner. It’s telling then that over a quarter (27%) more men are likely to lie and secretly consult their sat nav without telling their partner in order to impress with their navigational skills and reduce any arguments.

The research also uncovers a serious safety concern with drivers being increasingly distracted with their appearance whilst at the wheel - women are twice as likely as men to be preoccupied with grooming themselves, regularly taking their eyes and concentration off the road.

However, drivers are showing increasing awareness and concern for other road users. Almost half (42%) said they would feel safer having a dash cam (in-car recording device) whilst driving, not to protect themselves, but to protect those not easily seen such as cyclists and pedestrians from drivers. Over a third (37%) said that if they had the spare cash, they would upgrade their dash cam, followed by a third (33%) who would upgrade their sat nav.

To save a bit of money on insurance premiums, drivers said they would be most willing to invest in a sat nav to help them find quicker routes to reduce their mileage. This is followed by fitting a car alarm, installing a car tracker and using a dash cam.


One in 10 (11%) of people said that their mother’s voice would drive them crazy, closely followed by their partner’s (10%). The most well-known voice that would drive most people around the bend is Russell Brand, followed by Jonathan Ross, Ed Miliband, Alex Salmond, Jeremy Clarkson and David Cameron. Benedict Cumberbatch with his polished accent, is the voice most people would like to hear on their sat nav, followed by Carol Vorderman.

Kirsty Quartley, Garmin PND Product Manager comments:

“Technology plays an integral role in almost everything that we do, so much so that our Generation Y unequivocally view it not as a luxury - an optional addition, but as a life necessity and increasingly, a right. The research highlights just how reliant we are on technology to help get us through our everyday routines and it is becoming increasingly clear that without it, people simply feel ‘lost’, and as is the case without the security of some form of navigation device nearby, that becomes literal.

Rather than seeing technology as consuming traditional skills like map reading, it should be celebrated for delivering speed, accuracy and safety – for example, dash cams are now seen as an important tool in helping to reduce road rage and side-vision cameras to eliminate blind spots to keep vulnerable road users safe.

Our sat nav usage has evolved over time from being a tool that just gets you from A-B to delivering features that help reduce the stress of driving. Sat navs are also doing their bit to make sure you operate more safely in the car with many products offering hands-free calling, voice-activated navigation and audible prompts to ensure you are in the right lane when making complex lane changes at busy junctions. No more excuses of ‘traffic queues made me late’ and no more arguing about whether you are in the right lane – the sat nav is right!”

Read more from Leek Post & Times

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters