Satnavs and country lanes

Drsatan

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I've noticed that many SatNavs tend to send you down roads which they deem to be the quickest way to your destination regardless of their suitability. These include single-track roads and routes which require turning off a main road, following a country lane then rejoining the same road a few miles ahead to save a few minutes, even if it involves wasting time making a difficult turn from a minor road onto a main road.

I've been caught out by satnavs on a couple of occasions when I didn't know the area very well. In Cornwall I blindly accepted the satnav's suggested route, which entailed 10 miles of navigating single-track roads with lots of blind corners. On future occasions, it will be easier to refer to an A-Z!

I've noticed Google Maps, TomTom and Waze are guilty of this. Surely there would be the demand for an option allowing users to avoid unclassified roads when planning routes should they wish? HGV satnavs (in theory) avoid narrow lanes, so in practice satnavs sold to car owners should have this option installed.
 
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eMeS

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My Garmin GPS in SatNav mode offers me optimising options for speed and distance. I normally choose the Distance Option so that I'm not led on to a Motorway full of stationary traffic.
 

tony_mac

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I haven't had a problem with (in-built) dedicated Satnavs, but Google maps seems to be very keen on taking you on ridiculous detours just to save a few seconds.
 

Iskra

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A satnav- like a map - is only as good as the person using it. If I'm really not sure where I'm going I will research the route via the internet in advance and then use a satnav too. You do of course need to apply common sense and you are of course able to decline its instructions.

However, my (built-in) satnav is excellent. I put in a post code, it will show me 3 routes on a map, I choose which one I want and then follow it. It then updates to get me around any traffic/accidents etc, at which point I will make a choice to follow its advice or not.
 

GusB

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I've never used a proper satnav, but do occasionally use Google Maps for navigation. The last time I took a long trip, I purchased an AA road atlas for the return leg...
 

tsr

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I have a decent Tomtom satnav built into my car, which has loads of waypoint selection options, so I sometimes deliberately set it to country lane routes - generally by routing myself via stupidly small places in the middle of nowhere.

I usually quite enjoy this - I’d far rather have an interesting journey than sit in a queue - although even a slow motorway journey is usually faster than the back route.

That being said, I did lose most of a wing mirror (to a careless driver squeezing past me) on a recent obscure route via the Pennines. The spectacular preceding view made up for the time spent calling my insurer from a layby which was randomly infested with flies.
 

Gathursty

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Before I go anywhere unfamiliar, I do Google the route and area. I have a good memory for diagrams/networks so can kind of gauge where I should be turning in the real world. I also have an A to Z in the car if my phone isnt picking up a signal.

When it comes to country lanes as detours. I will give a real example. If you look at the A483 between Newtown and Crossgates, there are 2 deviations you could make which will shorten the distance but these are single track roads going up and over Welsh hills. I have drove on both of the deviations as well as that bit of the A483 in it's entirety. In my small car, I didn't mind using either of those options but I'm a shortest distance person when on a journey with no time issues. If it's a commute or issue of emergency, I'd stick to the A roads.
 

bspahh

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I've noticed that many SatNavs tend to send you down roads which they deem to be the quickest way to your destination regardless of their suitability. These include single-track roads and routes which require turning off a main road, following a country lane then rejoining the same road a few miles ahead to save a few minutes, even if it involves wasting time making a difficult turn from a minor road onto a main road.
Waze has options to avoid dirt roads, and to avoid difficult junctions. Press the menu button, then the settings cog icon in the top left corner and click Navigation. You can get SatNavs for caravans and motorhomes, which have extra warnings for low bridges and narrow lanes, but they are more expensive than standard ones.
 

GusB

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Before I go anywhere unfamiliar, I do Google the route and area. I have a good memory for diagrams/networks so can kind of gauge where I should be turning in the real world. I also have an A to Z in the car if my phone isnt picking up a signal.

When it comes to country lanes as detours. I will give a real example. If you look at the A483 between Newtown and Crossgates, there are 2 deviations you could make which will shorten the distance but these are single track roads going up and over Welsh hills. I have drove on both of the deviations as well as that bit of the A483 in it's entirety. In my small car, I didn't mind using either of those options but I'm a shortest distance person when on a journey with no time issues. If it's a commute or issue of emergency, I'd stick to the A roads.
Lack of phone signal can be an issue in my part of the world. While I can now rely on having 4G on my regular day-to-day journeys, I don't have to venture very far off the beaten track before the signal degrades. I have a dual-SIM phone which can be a help; my second SIM is Tesco/o2, which can revert to good old-fashioned GPRS, but only one SIM can be used for data, and I have to manually switch between them. This, combined with hilly areas tends to mean that Google gets a bit confused sometimes.
 

TheEdge

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I always tend to check the route generated by my satnav before setting off.

On more than a few occasions on a regular journey I take between Norfolk and Kent Waze has tried to send me on some very circuitous routes around Dartford to save 2 minutes around the A282 - M25 - A2 area.
 

Tom B

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I hate drivers who are glued to their Prat-Nav. The worst offenders are minicab or parcel drivers. If the machine says 'turn left' they turn left, without looking at what they're pulling into. They don't look at road signs as they're looking at their phone, so end up in the wrong lane etc.

Before I go anywhere unfamiliar, I do Google the route and area. I have a good memory for diagrams/networks so can kind of gauge where I should be turning in the real world. I also have an A to Z in the car if my phone isnt picking up a signal.
Likewise. Or I might write myself a post-it note with some very basic points on ("A1, A505, A11, Dereham, A47S" being what I scribbled to get somewhere a couple of months ago.
 
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Drsatan

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Thanks for all your replies everyone.

I use Waze if I'm driving in built-up areas as it's possible to search by place as opposed to address, but for longer-distance journeys I use the TomTom Go app as the app works offline. I'm aware Google Maps works offline if you download maps but it doesn't retain street names if you do so, I've discovered.

I've noticed some minor roads in Cornwall now have 'Not suitable for through traffic' signs visible to drivers contemplating turning onto them, presumably to reduce instances of cars meeting each other on single-track roads, or lorries getting stuck.
 

dgl

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The Nissan Connect 2 system that's in the micra does this, if it's got a green hump in the middle it's probably best not to send you that way.
 

Peter Mugridge

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I hate drivers who are glued to their Prat-Nav. The worst offenders are minicab or parcel drivers. If the machine says 'turn left' they turn left, without looking at what they're pulling into. They don't look at road signs as they're looking at their phone, so end up in the wrong lane etc.
Indeed. Here in Epsom we have a road closure while a gas main is being replaced. It is clearly signposted in several places in advance as being closed with access to the car park only, but we still get about 25% of all vehicles entering the road in question immediately doing a 180° at the roundabout where the entrance to the car park is...
 

edwin_m

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https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.1...4!1sW6hE2IM30atr501Tbi18sA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
(Sign "Day Visitors Ignore SatNav Please Follow Signs")
This is just beyond the turn for the old Lelant Saltings P&R, sending St Ives visitors down what turns out to be a much more minor road than the obvious route through Carbis Bay. It has the advantage of bringing people into the back of the town where there are car parks instead of the centre where vehicles are a menace in holiday season.
 

telstarbox

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Google Maps does seem to pick up roadworks / closures fairly quickly as so many people use the app. I guess it's triggered if the traffic flow is so many % below the average for that day and time.
 

Lucan

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Some satnavs seem to asssume that all roads can be driven at their maximum legal speed limit. For most narrow single track country lanes this limit is 60mph, daft as that is. Certainly the time estimates some of my satnavs have given are based on that assumption - have made me late when I still believed their estimates. So if it thinks it can save you one second by diving off a 50mph limited straight main road into a winding narrow side lane and driving at 60mph, rejoining the main road some miles later, it will choose the side lane.

Of course you can choose "shortest" rather than "quickest", which will do similar to save a yard of distance.
 

eMeS

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Does anyone here use the SatNav feature in the Garmin GPSMap 62s?

I'd had the GPS for some time before discovering that it had SatNav facilities built in. I still haven't found any published instructions, and whilst I think I'm now fairly competent with it, it's taken me around 18 months of hit and miss usage.
 

HOOVER29

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I've noticed that many SatNavs tend to send you down roads which they deem to be the quickest way to your destination regardless of their suitability. These include single-track roads and routes which require turning off a main road, following a country lane then rejoining the same road a few miles ahead to save a few minutes, even if it involves wasting time making a difficult turn from a minor road onto a main road.

I've been caught out by satnavs on a couple of occasions when I didn't know the area very well. In Cornwall I blindly accepted the satnav's suggested route, which entailed 10 miles of navigating single-track roads with lots of blind corners. On future occasions, it will be easier to refer to an A-Z!.
I’ve been driving to Cornwall for over 30 yrs now & still get lost.
I’ve learned not to use the Sat-nav for "short cut" journies as it’s guaranteed it’ll take me down some narrow farm track somewhere along the journey.
Once we ended up on a cycle trail. Luckily I was in the car & not a 40 foot artic.
Now I keep a easy to read pocket map of Devon & Cornwall in my door pocket.
 

asharpe

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I get a lot of feedback from the drivers in the company I work for about sat navs, the main complaints are:
  • Being sent through bus gates/short bus lanes
  • Sat navs never suggesting u-turns (it will be in HGV mode) and going on a massive detour to get to the next drop just a few hundred yards back along the road. Cornwal is particularly bad for this.
  • Routing over narrow tracks (it will be in car mode, except for last mile or so)
  • Routing along Queens Dive in Edinburgh
  • Anything involving Queensway in Brum - although things have gotten better recently
  • New housing estates alongside motorways or dual carriageways - "Your destination is on your left"
  • Ferry links - especially in the south west
  • Roads and bridges with weight restrictions under 3.5 ton - especially those which don't apply to buses or are given in cwt.
 

telstarbox

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Google Maps is very good at distinguishing between general roads, bus gates, banned turns and pedestrian/cycle only sections - are your company drivers using legacy satnavs like TomToms?
 

asharpe

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Google Maps is very good at distinguishing between general roads, bus gates, banned turns and pedestrian/cycle only sections - are your company drivers using legacy satnavs like TomToms?
We don't use google maps - for a whole host of reasons (functional and commercial).

I would agree that google maps is very good at learning which roads not to go down and often does so quite quickly due to breakdowns and roadworks.
 

PeterY

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I must be pretty sad :(:(:(. I've never owned a sat nav. I rarely drive out of my local area and if I do I study a road atlas.
 

Journeyman

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I haven't had a problem with (in-built) dedicated Satnavs, but Google maps seems to be very keen on taking you on ridiculous detours just to save a few seconds.
It's also not very good with roads you shouldn't drive down. I recently drove to the starting point of a twelve-mile hike to a very remote bothy in the north of Scotland. Google Maps suggested you could drive all the way there, which you probably could if you had a 4x4, but there were also a couple of locked gates in the way.
 

PeterC

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The ability to get spoken directions from Google Maps on my phone is brilliant when unexpectedly stuck in traffic as, as stated above, it picks up details of delays promptly.

Printing off a route from the home computer can be iffy, for one journey it gave me a direct cross country route but as the signage on the road didn't include the B road numbers it was nigh on impossible to follow. With hindsight the route that I would normally have taken using local knowledge was much better and quicker in practice as it used straight clear roads.

I have used the built in satnav on my current car on a couple of occasions for "last mile" directions (OK, usually last 5 miles) but it is often easier and less distracting to memorise key junctions on StreetView beforehand.
 

Lucan

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I must be pretty sad :(:(:(. I've never owned a sat nav. I rarely drive out of my local area and if I do I study a road atlas.
I study a road atlas before the journey, but use the satnav on the journey because I cannot study the atlas while I am driving and I don't have a photographic memory of atlas pages. I cannot remember road numbers either (unless it is like the "A4"), not even the one past my gate.

When I set up the satnav for the journey I check the route it proposes against the atlas to see that it is reasonable. If it is not, eg wants to send me right through a town centre, or anywhere near Milton Keynes, I set a waypoint to make it skirt that feature.

In essence, I expect my satnav to replicate what my son did in his early teens - having briefed him on the route beforehand, he sat with the map and gave me directions like "Turn left in about half a mile's time onto the B1234". Incidentally, I never look at my satnav, just go by its voice.
 

eMeS

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...When I set up the satnav for the journey I check the route it proposes against the atlas to see that it is reasonable. If it is not, eg wants to send me right through a town centre, or anywhere near Milton Keynes, I set a waypoint to make it skirt that feature. ...
I'll remember that...
 

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