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We’ve all been there – poised to start driving, postcode at the ready and….”sat nav says no”. Or, worse, when the sat nav recognises the postcode but doesn’t know the roads and thinks that the best way is to use a ferry as opposed to the roads because it’ll in theory save a few miles but adds more time on waiting for the next crossing! Sat navs’ are by far one of the best inventions made for drivers, but they are by no means fool proof, and here’s a few reasons why:

Accent Issues
In 2016 video footage was released of an Irish driver, Declan Flannery, trying to make his inbuilt voice operated sat nav understand him – his strong Irish accent caused issues as it couldn’t understand the phrase “new destination” so he couldn’t even get to the destination input screen.

The original video can be seen on YouTube, but there is a bit of strong language as (perhaps understandably), the driver does get a bit frustrated as the sat nav tells him “cancel” when it doesn’t understand his command!

Postcode Problems
The UK is a relatively small island and there are places that are close to each other – not “next door” as it were, but they still share the same postcode. One such place is the Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall in Wales, which shares its postcode (SA10 8EU) with nearby Dulais Close, a cul de sac in the village of Aberdulais. There is half a mile between the two places, but not according to most sat navs, so be sure to look at the onscreen map before getting out and knocking on any doors wanting to sneak a look at the view!

Too Big a Bus
An incident was reported in 2006 of a bus driver who had managed to get the vehicle stuck, complete with full load of pensioners, after he followed his sat nav down a country lane in the Forest of Dean that ultimately was too small to allow him to pass through. The group were stranded for almost 4 hours and eventually had to be driven across 3 recently harvested fields to get back to the main road.

Rosemary Lane is classed as a shortcut between the main Coleford road through the Forest of Dean and the A48 Gloucester to Chepstow road and has seen a lot of oversized vehicles get stuck over the years as the drivers have not checked the route before starting the drive. It becomes extremely narrow and goes down a steep bend, so cars towing caravans have also had problems and had to turn back. Homeowners on the lane have reported seeing lorries turning in their driveways to avoid becoming stuck. A request has been made by the local council for sat nav manufacturers, including Garmin and TomTom, to update their systems and stop sending traffic down the lane!

Setting Sail
Most people restrict their sat nav usage to the roads, but not so for an amateur sailor in London who in 2010 decided to navigate down the River Thames to Rochester in Kent in a 32ft Myra Two motor cruiser with no other navigation aids except a car sat nav system. The boat, worth £20k, wasn’t even equipped with any maps or a radio and had run aground at Holehaven Creek in Essex as the sat nav could not inform the captain and his passenger where the water wasn’t deep enough. Luckily, especially as the weather wasn’t great, the Coastguard rescued them and towed them to the docks, where we’re sure the Captain was treated to a bit of an earbashing!

Clifftop View?
It’s not only here in the UK we have sat nav issues. A Swiss driver, Robert Ziegler, ended up driving his van on a mountain path thanks to his sat nav telling him this was part of the main road around the mountain, and had to ultimately be rescued by a helicopter along with his van!

In another example, a driver in Salzberg, Austria, confused shoppers when they saw him merrily taking his limo down a steep flight of stairs in the city centre. Or what about the backpackers in Australia who took their sat nav’s advice to head out into the outback down a dirt track which had been closed due to heavy rainfall. Their vehicle became stuck in thick mud and they had to sit it out for 4 days as the authorities could not come to their rescue due to the weather! Seems that perhaps getting stuck in the UK isn’t as bad as you think when you consider the creatures they were more than likely sharing close confines with!

Ever had a sat nav fail? Are we better off going back to the old compass system? Let us know in the comments!




Author Rebecca Sturgess

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