Friday, 25 April 2008

Sat-Nav leads car driver into brook

If you look down the list of subjects to the right of my entries you will note under 'Sat-Navs' that I have sounded off before about the problems they can bring. It's usually tales of juggernauts getting wedged in country lanes or knocking off the corners of buildings that make the headlines but not this time. Late yesterday evening a car driver phoned for help because her car had got stuck in the Grindle Brook, a stream near Woodbury Salterton in East Devon that eventually finds its way into the River Clyst. To add to her embarrassment in trying to extricate herself she had burnt out the clutch. Looking at my trusty Landranger map (sheet 192) I can see exactly where this calamity occurred: there is a little uncoloured road running north-south, the only one crossing the brook. Now the combination of night time driving and an uncoloured road on the Ordnance Survey map really is something to be avoided. The trouble with the Sat-Nav technology is that though you can rely on it most of the time there is going to be the odd occasion when it will fail and obviously in this case at some cost.

It is so so easy to become wedded to the idea that clever technology is foolproof when of course it isn't. Maps have always fascinated me and my shelves groan under the weight of them. Bearing in mind that most of my driving is on reasonably familiar territory I don't see myself needing a Sat-Nav just yet. Reverting to the mishap at Woodbury Salterton the Sat-Nav route if negotiable would only have saved two or three miles. Use the technology as a tool by all means but don't depend on it 100%.

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