Do you remember a time when you used to rely on a map for navigating on car journeys?
It’s something I can recall from my childhood particularly but not any more.
Now it’s all about using a sat nav to get around.
But can relying on your sat nav be a bad thing?
Relying On Your Sat Nav Could Be A Bad Thing
I always use a sat nav when going on a long journey.
It’s less stressful than using a map.
And it can keep you moving and away from traffic jams.
Yet some experts believe relying on your sat nav could lead to a loss of navigation skills.
Almost like we’ll lose them through evolution if we don’t use our navigation skills.
My wife often accuses me of following the sat navs instructions blindly and that can end up in tears.
It seems it makes us lose our own innate common sense.
We’re prepared to trust the sat nav no matter what.
In fact, we don’t even use the part of our brain that we use to find our way around.
So relying on your sat nav turns off navigation skills.
What happens when you lose the GPS signal though or your sat nav or mobile phone runs out of batteries?
At that point you’re on your own.
Whilst signposts are reliable in towns and cities, you could be stuck in the middle of nowhere without a clue as to where you are.
Worse still, your sat nav could be taking you in completely the wrong direction if you’ve input your destination incorrectly.
Would you spot that if you hadn’t researched the journey beforehand?
Or It Could Be A Good Thing
It seems that relying on your sat nav isn’t going to go away any time soon.
From December 2017, UK driving tests will include GPS navigation as a required skill.
It’s good that they’re including this because it’s becoming an everyday occurrence.
I rarely use my sat nav for short journeys but I know many people always have theirs on to avoid traffic congestion.
With more and more cars on the road perhaps this isn’t such a bad idea.
Which Sat Navs Have I Tried?
I’ve never bothered with a separate sat nav unit.
It’s easier and more convenient to get hold of an app on your mobile phone.
I’ve used a few different apps now but not all of them are up to scratch.
The first one I tried was Navigon which is owned by Garmin.
There’s a lot in the app but the price point is too high.
And even after you’ve bought the app, you still have to buy a subscription to traffic updates.
Still, I like Navigon’s maps the most of all the sat nav apps I’ve tried.
They’re detailed but very clear and easy to understand.
I like the lane assistant feature for those tricky junctions as well as the real road signs on screen.
It’s got a great database of addresses and points of interest so it should get you where you want to go.
There are a few things which made me stop using Navigon however.
The first is that I didn’t find the interface very intuitive or easy to get around.
Some settings had no explanation what they were for so it was tricky to know their function.
The worst thing was though that in operation Navigon didn’t perform well at times.
On dual carriageways and motorways it would suggest I leave at the next junction and then take me back onto the same road after going around the roundabout.
When I queried this with Navigon they suggested I contact customer service to better understand how to use the app.
Not really the answer you want to hear when it’s their software at fault rather than the user.
I also didn’t like the traffic alerts feature much.
The alerts weren’t easy to understand or easy to use.
When you’re driving you don’t want the added complication of having to tap on the screen too much.
With Navigon’s traffic alerts that seemed to be the norm but it’s too distracting.
I gave up using them in the end.
As I’d paid money for that feature though I felt cheated.
After giving up on Navigon, I decided to move to TomTom Go.
It’s free to try but you only get up to 50 miles of navigation each month.
After that you have to subscribe but the price is reasonable and you can pay for up to three years in advance.
I don’t like the map design as much as Navigon.
It’s plain looking and lacks detail.
I’ve also been disappointed with the search function and the points of interest available.
In many cases the destinations I’ve been searching for aren’t in the database.
So I have to improvise with the postcode and then move the destination arrow on screen or use longitude and latitude coordinates.
It’s a shame because when I put the same destinations in Google Maps or Navigon, they are listed.
The traffic alerts on the other hand are far superior to Navigon and easy to understand.
I like the fact that alternative faster routes appear without the need to touch the screen.
You choose to take the new route or stay on the current one.
You’re given plenty of notice to make an informed decision.
I’ve never had the same problem I had with Navigon with being directed to come off and rejoin a motorway at the same junction.
Having used both apps for a number of years, I much prefer TomTom Go over Navigon.
Do You Use A Sat Nav?
Do you rely on your sat nav to get you around and about?
Is it a good or a bad thing to use a sat nav rather than relying on a map and why?
Do you use an app or have a standalone sat nav unit?
Which sat nav app or provider do you prefer and why?
Please let me know in the comments section below.