A recent survey by black cab taxi app mytaxi has found that London drivers are more reliant on sat navs than drivers anywhere else in the UK. The survey estimates that London drivers waste on average 62 hours a year blindly following sat nav instructions into traffic jams and black-spots, with these “zombie drivers” further exacerbating traffic congestion on the roads.

The mytaxi survey found that a massive 88% of drivers in London use sat navs all the time, versus 76% for the national average. Further to this, one in five Londoners say they cannot find their way home in London without a sat nav. Meanwhile, a whopping 65% confess they would not be able to cope without a sat nav in an unfamiliar location outside of London.

“Zombie Drivers” most reliant on sat navs in London says survey

Ignoring road conditions

Most worryingly of all, 62% say that they pay no regard at all to road signs, famous landmarks or even temporary lights and road signs, such as diversion signals if a road is closed, when following the sat nav in the car. This zombification has led to drivers blindly driving into dead ends, going the long way if re-routed by the sat nav or getting stuck in unnecessary traffic congestion because a sat nav fails to choose the quickest route, wasting up to 100 hours a year per driver.

The survey also found that 39% of all sat nav routes fail to reach the exact destination, while only 13% of the routes selected by sat navs were the quickest to the destination. In a sly dig at Uber drivers and other sat nav-reliant minicab services, mytaxi General Manager, UK, Andy Jones, comments:

“Sat nav technology is undoubtedly a huge help to many people but it is certainly not flawless and the results can be both frustrating and comical, as evidenced by the huge number of misadventures we have recorded.”

“We are proud to say that all mytaxi drivers have spent three years studying for The Knowledge memorising over 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks. There really is no substitute to real local knowledge when it comes to navigating through traffic and finding the quickest routes to a destination.”

How to tackle being a “zombie driver”

The obvious way to tackle being a zombie driver is to switch the sat nav off and try to navigate using road signs and maps, especially on common routes that you undertake. There is no substitute for knowing the back routes personally, as this can enable you get around the jams at peak times.

Some drivers have sat nav on by default because they think it will find a faster route if there is traffic congestion on the current route. However, although sat navs such as Google Maps often proclaim there is a “faster route available,” this is not always correct. That’s because these sat navs don’t analyse the current congestion level on the alternative route at the same time – at best they predict it based on historic traffic levels at that day and time, so it’s not a true, real time comparison between routes.

Another way to tackle your zombie driver status is to use an app like Waze. Waze is a community of drivers who aim to help other drivers to avoid traffic jams in real time. Much of the data you see in Waze does appear in Google Maps, but you can’t replace the feeling of Waze and the sense of finding a new route for the community of other drivers out there.

Are you a “zombie driver” and do you agree that sat navs take you into traffic jams rather than help you avoid them? Do you think you are over reliant on your sat nav – would you be able to cope with road signs and maps? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit – Pixabay 

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