With many young drivers lacking basic map reading skills due to over-reliance on SatNav and online technologies we ask the question – should learner drivers be taught how to navigate using a road map?
A recent study by NetVoucherCodes.co.uk has suggested that the map-reading skills of many young drivers are extremely poor - suggesting that they have become too reliant on satellite navigation technology.
According to the survey four out of five young drivers between the ages of 18 and 30 have confessed to being unable to read a map and require electronic guidance to help them find where they need to go.
Commenting on behalf of the company, a spokesperson said:
"We’ve all seen the pictures of lorries wedged in narrow streets or heard the tales of cars being diverted hundreds of miles purely to avoid one bit of road. Map reading is a valuable skill and one which should not be lost especially amongst our younger generations. We have to remember that technology cannot be counted on all of the time."
The survey clearly brings up a number of concerns - including the lack of map reading skills by young drivers. Whilst it's easy to become dependent on the likes of a SatNav or online tool like Google Maps there is no knowing when it could go wrong.
The difference is – a SatNav is essentially a computer device that pulls its data from a satellite where a road atlas is a large book of road maps. An atlas can’t really go wrong – unless it’s a really old version and therefore doesn’t include the latest road changes – but that’s why it’s important to make sure the Atlas is up-to-date. A SatNav is an extremely useful tool; however, it is electronic and therefore prone to bugs, errors and general technical failure (in some instances).
There are arguments for both sides; however, stories in the press of people driving down restricted roads; driving headlong into lakes or rivers or driving the wrong way down a one-way road due to over-reliance on their SatNav also highlights the importance of map-reading, checking road signs and a little common sense.
So with this over-reliance on satellite navigation is it time to bring things back to basics? Should map reading to be introduced as part of a learner driver’s driving test?