Sat Nav

Rivers, Ravines & Roundabouts; get the best from your sat–nav!

We all do it; punch in the postcode and trust the machine to deliver us safely to our destination. It doesn't always work out that way though. A recent poll found that 83% of sat–nav users have been misled by their system; which in the last year alone has led to over £200 million worth of damage to cars.

From the dangerous to the just plain silly we look at the funniest sat–nav nightmares and offer some top tips to ensure it doesn't happen to you.

Between a rock and a hard place

When you end up in a different country you'd think it might be wise to question whether you are going the right way. Not so when a Turkish lorry driver tried to deliver a truckload of lorries to Gibraltar off the coast of Spain. Some 1,600 miles from his target destination it was an altogether different rock he ended up visiting when he was spotted asking for directions at Gibraltar Rock, Skegness.


A lady, named only as Haley, took her luxury Mercedes convertible for a spin in the Leicestershire countryside back in 2007 and ended up with an altogether different off-road experience.

Following the instructions of her trusty sat–nav she turned into a farmer's lane that eventually turned into a muddy track. When she reached a river her sat–nav instructed her to drive 'straight on' and so, yes you guessed it, she dutifully drove straight into the river. Not surprisingly she didn't get very far.

Emergency service

Even the emergency services have had their fill of sat–nav nightmares. An ambulance crew took an unnecessary 400-mile round-trip when all they wanted to do was take a patient in Ilford, Essex, to another hospital twelve miles away. Their journey should have taken them just a few minutes. It wasn't until they were in Manchester they realised something was wrong.

And as for taxi drivers, you'd think that with ‘the knowledge' they'd be a bit more clued up than the rest of us. Not for one Northfolk cabbie who followed his sat–nav to the letter.

This included taking the wrong turning at a fork in the road – up the river! Of course he didn't get very far and after driving 200 yards up the River Nar his car inevitably ground to a halt.

Top tips:

There are a few simple things that can help to ensure that you use your sat–nav both safely and effectively.

  • Be aware that your sat–nav can be wrong.
  • Always check your route in advance and then cross check it with your paper or online map.
  • Always carry a paper map in the car.
  • Update your sat–nav firmware GPS and overlays to ensure they have the latest road layouts.
  • If your GPS doesn't have traffic monitoring then check and ensure that your route is the best one according to local traffic reports.
  • Double check you have the correct spelling and postcode for your destination.
  • Check the ariel map view of your route as opposed to just turn-by-turn or streetview.

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