Mind over machine: 6 good reasons to travel without satnav
If you drive a lot, it’s probably hard to imagine a life without satnav. However, did you know that its use turns off certain parts of the brain? A new study from University College London (UCL) has focused on how the human brain responds with and without navigation in the car.
The result is frightening: in the case of motorists who had to find their way through London’s trendy Soho without navigation, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex showed large increases in activity. The more turns or routes there were, the more active these brain regions which are responsible for planning and decision-making were. For the subjects who used satnav, however, their brains showed no increased activity.
An earlier UCL study had already shown how the hippocampus of taxi drivers is expanded on their travels by using their local knowledge and their internalised mental map. So, the use of satnav prevents stimulation in certain parts of the brain and consequently affects our orientation and knowledge of streets and landscapes.
Still not convinced about trying driving without it? Maybe the six biggest satnav fails will convince you:
This woman drove 900 miles from Belgium to Zagreb to pick up her friend from a railway station only 38 miles away - because her satnav told her so:
This family missed a game at EURO 2016 because their satnav sent them to the wrong city of Lille
A mobile home had to be retrieved by police after it had been sent down this impossibly narrow street:
The driver of this wet car obediently followed the route laid out by the satnav - and ended up in the middle of Lake Huron in Canada’s Bruce Peninsula:
This lady had a similar fate except she ended up in a river thanks to her route planner:
The driver of this truck probably asked himself how in the world he could get himself into this unfortunate situation:
Conclusion: It might be better to not follow the instructions of navigation devices all the time. If you can use map, or plan your trip in advance, then do so!