4 Sat Nav Tips For During Your Test
If your driving test is approaching, then you’ve most likely been spending your lessons practising using a sat nav and getting the hang of acting on instructions from a device rather than from your instructor. Although for many, the idea of using a sat nav takes the pressure off a little, for others, it’s another worry to ensure you get correct.
Understanding how to remember directions and act on instructions will be highly beneficial when you get to test day, so we’ve devised a list of our top four
Easy Sat Nav Tips
Not all tests will require you to use a sat nav, but if your examiner decides this is a subject they would like to test, it will take place during the independent drive section. Luckily, you will not be expected to do anything but follow the directions as your examiner would have pre-programmed all routes and positioned the device. If at any point you misunderstand an instruction or drive in the wrong direction, as long as you stay composed and continue to drive safely, you won’t receive a minor or major.
Tip One: Road Signs & Road Markings
Although your independent drive is used to assess whether you are able to take in and act on a set of instructions, always trust road signs and markings over your sat nav. We are no stranger to the plenty of stories online about sat navs sending drivers on a wild goose chance directing them to the wrong location putting them in danger. Sat navs rely on a combination of GPS and satellite data, which are not necessarily always accurate or updated regularly.
If you are approaching a road directed by your device and spot a no entry sign or a one-way street sign, always trust the signs, never continue to follow. The same when it comes to road markings, when approaching a roundabout, follow the lane markings printed on the ground. Sat navs will automatically redirect themselves and locate an alternative route to the same destination.
Tip Two: Staying Focused
It can be easy to become so engulfed in trying to ensure that you stay focused on the route on your sat nav that you find yourself staring at the screen trying to work out where you must go next. Your sat nav shouldn’t be a distraction nor cause you to take your eyes off the road for multiple seconds; it should only be a quick reference point.
Sat navs are carefully designed to cause as minimal distractions as possible, which is why they are legal to use while driving and all other forms of electronics, on the other hand, are illegal. It will clearly give spoken instructions in advance, informing you about the direction you must go along with the distance away you currently are. Try to get in the hang of listening out for instructions and only taking a quick glance when you feel a little unsure.
Staying focused is vital, particularly when approaching a roundabout. Your examiner may try to throw you off and direct you to a trickier roundabout that requires a change in lane or positioning different to the traditional layouts. It would be a shame to find yourself in the wrong lane or make an avoidable mistake due to having your full attention on the sat nav rather than the road ahead.
Tip Three: Operating The Sat Nav
You will not be required at any point in your test to operate the sat nav. As previously mentioned, your examiner will programme routes and set everything you need pre-test, all you need to do is follow directions. Even if you notice an important alert or error notification, you must keep your eyes on the road and continue to drive. Do not try to touch any buttons on the sat nav or dismiss the notification. If the issue is something major, your examiner will decide whether to continue using the device, pull over to resolve the problem or switch to manual instructions.
One of our own driving instructors in Leicester had an incident only a few weeks into the new test changes with a pupil regarding this issue on their practical test. The pupil’s test was going perfectly, and they were on the road to passing with flying colours until a notification appeared on the sat nav suggesting an alternative route that would save time. Instead of ignoring the notification and continuing to drive, they decided to take their eyes off the road and hand off the steering wheel to confirm the suggestion. This was not only an automatic major, but they also started to swerve in busy traffic, putting other drivers in danger.
Tip Four: Practicing Before Your Test
Although you may be used to directions from your instructor, this does not necessarily mean that the sat nav will be equally as easy. The terminology used by your instructor and terminology used by a sat nav is likely to be very different, particularly when it comes to roundabouts. Rather than giving simple instructions such as turn left or right, the sat nav will instead ask you to take the first, second or third exit, which may not always be necessarily what you expect it to be, this is when a quick reassuring glance may be required.
Always try to have as much practice as possible using a sat nav, although, for most drivers, it only takes a few journies to feel comfortable. If you feel as if you are struggling with using a sat nav and your test is quickly approaching, don’t hesitate to ask your instructor for a few hours of extra practice. Alternatively, if you are insured as a provisional licence holder on a friend or family members car and you know someone who has a sat nav you could borrow, try going for a drive at quiet times to get used to directions and terminology.
Pass Your Test The First Time!
The most important part of practical test preparation is to remain calm, using a sat nav is one of the simplest tasks during your test and will give you great experience for the future if you want to take on long distance journies. Do not let the potential prospect of misunderstanding an instruction or going the wrong way stress you; you will not fail due to this reason.