Do you really need a satnav?

I recently penned a little article on the subject of Satellite Navigation systems (see our Knowledge section). Now I’m no technophobe (can’t afford to be in this job), but I have to confess that for personal use SatNavs just don’t float my boat.

I know I’m swimming against the tide on this one as more and more cars come equipped with factory fitted systems. My car doesn’t have one, I went for sports seats and big wheels instead (bit of a chav, what?) and anyway, I can read a map.

But that isn’t to say I haven’t tried one.

A little while ago, one of our suppliers, in a reasonably successful attempt to curry favour, gave me a freebie (sorry, I mean demonstration model for testing and evaluation) in the form of a Navman Satellite Navigation system.

The following Sunday, I dutifully set it up and programmed it with a few relevant addresses. My current life partner and I then set off for a little drive, listening with mild amusement as the unit instructed us to go where we were going anyway.

A few days later however, my relationship (with the SatNav) began to sour.

We were travelling to Leeds on the A38 and I decided to use the A50 to cut across to the M1 to avoid Derby. (if you ever get the chance to avoid Derby, you really should).

The SatNav did not approve. Oh no.

“Do a U-turn!” it said

“Bugger off!” I said

“You are going the wrong way.” said my partner

I ignored that.

“You are not listing to it because it’s got a woman’s voice!” exclaimed my partner.

“Did you say something, dear?”

I thought I might get around this problem by programming the thing to go to the required destination via a third point.

Say you want to go to Chesterfield from Lincoln via Mansfield. All right, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Who wants to go to Chesterfield? It’s worse than Derby.’

Well quite, but this is just an example. Anyway, if you do this it will take you right into the middle of Mansfield town centre. And you don’t want to go there.

The final straw however was a trip to Burghley House in Stamford.

I know SatNavs can sometimes trip up with new road layouts (which is why you have to subscribe to the updates). But Burgley House has been around since 1587 (you can see even it from the A1) and Stamford’s road layout hasn’t changed since Edward the Confessor was head honcho. Could the SatNav find it? Could it hell. It didn’t have a clue. We finished up outside a short row of late Victorian terraced properties, (all substantial dwellings with a pleasant outlook) and doubtless very nice if you like that sort of thing. But hardly suitable for the late Lord Burghley.

So I switched it off.

Now I can see how a SatNav would be of benefit to say a taxi driver or a multi-drop delivery driver but it just wasn’t improving my life. So I gave it to my son (who, as a member of the younger generation, will happily embrace new technology for its’ own sake). He has since reported that the unit is performing splendidly and he kindly attributed my problems to operator ineptitude. Me? I’ve just treated myself to a new motoring atlas (99p from Asda) and it works just fine.

NB. I have no wish to offend the inhabitants of Derby, Chesterfield or Mansfield.

If you live in one of these charming towns, why not move somewhere nicer?