I seem to be one of the few people who doesn’t have a satnav in their car. I still rely on an ancient AA atlas that cost £1.99 in a garage years ago. The Oxford page has got a massive rip through it, but apart from that the map is still doing sterling service and I rarely get lost.
But now it appears that I’m one of a dying breed. A survey by budget NetVoucherCodes has found that the UK’s map-reading skills are fading fast. Sixty-nine per cent of women and 59 per cent of men say they’d be lost without a satnav, while four out of five 18 to 30 year olds couldn’t manage without one.
I’m mystified by the popularity of satnavs. For a start I don’t want to be bossed about by an annoying voice when I’m driving - and quite apart from that, satnavs aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. Lorries are always getting stuck in tight lanes, while car drivers have ended up on railway lines, cliff edges and in Richmond, North Yorkshire, rather than Richmond upon Thames. And look at what happened to Sabine Moreau, a 67-year-old Belgian woman who set off on a trip to Brussels earlier this month to pick up a friend from the station. The journey should have been 38 miles but thanks to her satnav she took a wrong turn and ended up 900 miles away in Zagreb, Croatia. Stick to a map next time, Sabine, and you’ll be fine.
PS. Don’t worry, these two tube trains haven’t gone AWOL after relying too heavily on their satnavs. I passed them in Shoreditch the other day and couldn’t resist taking a picture. They are actually recycled Jubilee Line trains (there are four altogether) and they’ve cleverly been converted into offices and studios high above Great Eastern Street.