6 good reasons to travel without satnav

Mind over machine: 6 good reasons to travel without satnav

Photo: Getty Images

You might want to get out the old paper map again when you see these route planner fails.

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.

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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:

Kat on Twitter

Belgian woman, 67, picking up her friend from railway station ends up in Zagreb 900 miles away... http://t.co/U3KHkuFT" w the actual f.


This family missed a game at EURO 2016 because their satnav sent them to the wrong city of Lille

ITV News on Twitter

Family misses Euro 2016 game after Sat Nav mix-up takes them to the wrong city of Lille https://t.co/uON094yybc


A mobile home had to be retrieved by police after it had been sent down this impossibly narrow street:

Daily Mail U.K. on Twitter

Police remove scaffolding for camper-van after owner tried to drive down a VERY narrow lane https://t.co/9GaNCjlIzn


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:

The Independent on Twitter

Woman follows sat nav, drives straight into a lake https://t.co/muDX0msvHm


This lady had a similar fate except she ended up in a river thanks to her route planner:

Maura O' Mullan on Twitter

Note to self NEVER TRUST A SAT NAV!! I ended up driving into a river!!! #help


The driver of this truck probably asked himself how in the world he could get himself into this unfortunate situation:

BBC Cambridgeshire on Twitter

Sat nav gets lorry from Cambridgeshire firm in a tight spot https://t.co/XukqIJRsCO


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! 

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04 2017 The Red Bulletin

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