GPS units lead drivers to danger
DRIVING with a GPS unit in your car can be a safety hazard. Too many people place them wrongly and compromise their view of the road, and new research from AAMI says they are also a serious distraction.
‘‘These devices are intended to remove the distraction of a driver having to read a map or navigate unknown roads, but there is some irony that for one in seven drivers, the technology is taking their attention from the task at hand,’’ Mike Sopinski of AAMI says. ‘‘Drivers failing or forgetting to input their destination into their navigation system before departing and those who follow GPS directions indiscriminately may explain why so many drivers who rely on GPS get distracted.
‘‘In many ways, technology is a bonus for drivers, but they also need to employ their own common sense, as a complement to the equipment, to ensure they’re not putting themselves or other drivers at risk.’’
The AAMI research shows men are more at risk — 17 per cent against 12 per cent of women — partly because they like to fiddle and change settings.
And GPS units are not the only growing distraction.
AAMI’s research shows MP3 players and high-powered stereos can be a problem.
‘‘Nationally, 12 per cent of drivers say they have become distracted while using their MP3 player, and a whopping 42 per cent say they have lost concentration while using more old-school technology, such as changing a CD, tape or radio station while behind the wheel,’’ Sopinski says.
MP3 players can tempt drivers to shuffle through music when they should be concentrating.