Drivers still favour atlases over sat navs

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Motorists in the UK still prefer using a printed road atlas to relying on a satellite navigation system – by a whisker.

But many combine both to make sure they know how to get where they're going.


That's according to a new survey, the results of which have just been published by the AA.

It polled almost 24,000 drivers on their navigation habits, and found that 63% of motorists had used a road atlas in the last six months, whereas 60% had used a sat nav in the same amount of time.

35% of respondents said that they used a sat nav, but also carried an atlas as a back-up in case the technology failed them.

Just one in six said that they relied upon a sat nav alone – although in the 18-24-year-old age group, that figure shot up to 43%.

However, only 7% of drivers said that they used online maps to plan a route in advance, with the same proportion using only an atlas to prepare, indicating that many drivers may set out on their journey without even planning a route.

The survey was carried out to coincide with the launch of a new book from the AA's publishing arm called 'Mapping The Roads'.

Its author, Mike Parker, says: "The younger generation may be changing the way maps are used but even those using sat navs are still dependent on the mapping behind the devices, so maps and mapping the roads are still vital for the future of road travel.

"Technology has brought us in-car navigation systems to make getting around without a human navigator far easier.

"However, there are numerous tales of those who rely solely on this technology finding themselves in either completely the wrong location or on inappropriate roads for their vehicles.

"With a good map, you can quite literally see the bigger picture, get a sense of the context of the landscape through which you're travelling and hunt down some unexpected gems along the way."

Edmund King, the AA's President, added: "Most motorists are still turning to maps when planning car journeys even in the age of high tech navigation systems.

"As a nation, the British are obsessed with directions and maps; just ask a group of people for directions and you will likely receive a variety of routes based on personal preferences and shortcut knowledge."