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Programming a Sat-Nav while driving?

By Anna Key - 16 May 2009 26

While it has been illegal, and downright stupid, to SMS whilst driving, is there a similar law to cover the seemingly ubiquitous GPS/Sat Nav? 

On a couple of occasions on Athllon Drive recently, I’ve been stuck behind someone busy fiddling with their toy, resulting in ignoring of a green light or a sudden drop in speed as they started to wander off into Mt Taylor.  It seems a fairly dangerous activity, especially along the Athllon Drive crash zone.  It also seems strange that is not ok to have things dangling from your mirror, but it is fine to stick a 4″ screen in the middle of your windscreen.

I don’t own one so don’t know how they are programmed, but I do think pulling over before doing so might be a better idea.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Programming a Sat-Nav while driving?
Pandy 8:23 am 17 May 09

Sat Navs are great to get a new direction because of congestion or road works or even get the latest weather updates via Bluetooth phone!!! Very easy to reprogram on the fly with only 3 or 4 taps.

Clown Killer 10:09 pm 16 May 09

That’s the thing Gomer. With mine, if you pulled over and devoted all your attention, it would take 20 amybe 30 seconds to log in the destination and you’re on your way – getting the right directions and not being distracted. I don’t think it’s a great idea to be fannying about with that stuff when your actually driving.

Anna Key 10:09 pm 16 May 09

Mr Waffle said :


I’m pretty sure the only way you could get a more stereotypically bad driver is if she had her foglights on…

Or had diplomatic plates

gomer 9:54 pm 16 May 09

Felix the Cat said :

pptvb said :

Might go some way to explaining why the majority of taxi drivers are so crap….

actually taxi driving records are quite good when you consider the kilometers traveled.

you have to weigh up the pros and cons of the sat-nav. you get a call on the freeway which you answer hands free of course. the person on the phone needs you to get to a place you have never been before quickly (for some reason). is it better to setup your sat-nav or drive unsure of where you are going or what turn to take?

Felix the Cat 8:51 pm 16 May 09

pptvb said :

I love the cars with their Sat-Nav’s mounted in the middle of the windscreen.
Vision obscured much?

I’ve always thought that too. I have a GPS but have a strip of velcro stuck to the back of it with a corresponding velcro bit stuck to the flat bit of the dash just to the left of the steering wheel so I mount the GPS on that, leaving the windscreen free to look out of.

I program the GPS in the the driveway before I leave home and it gives me spoken directions to my destination so I only have to glance occasionally at it to check on upcoming street name or similar.

pptvb said :

taxis have been fiddling with their navigation things for years,
they seem legal.

Might go some way to explaining why the majority of taxi drivers are so crap….

Mr Waffle 8:39 pm 16 May 09

the government ought to make some road safety ads to address this kind of deadly dangerous behaviour.

“Drive n sat nav, you be splat’nd”?

I think the satnav in my folks Subaru locks you out from fiddling with it when you’re moving. I only ever play with mine before I leave for whatever journey that requires it, so I’m not sure if it does the same thing.

Speaking of distracted people driving, the other day I had a woman in an SUV in front of me slow down while half way across the lane when entering the big roundabout at the Woden end of Adelaide avenue. I noticed the reason she had slowed down was so she could reach over to her passenger seat and answer her mobile, crawling around the roundabout and sitting in the right hand lane the whole way up to Civic, chatting away. I’m pretty sure the only way you could get a more stereotypically bad driver is if she had her foglights on…? (and maybe indicated the wrong way on the roundabout)

bd84 5:30 pm 16 May 09

MrPC said :

Why just Sat-Nav? Just the other day I was on Hindmarsh Drive (wrong side of town for me) and I was busy studying the Gregorys to figure out where the heck I was going when I almost missed a Green light. The guy stopped behind me was fuming as I looked in the rear view mirror and waved.

You make a good point. Pretty much anything you do other than paying full attention to driving can be dangerous, but then I’m sure every driver amongst is guilty of doing such a thing. From smoking, to yelling at the kiddies misbehaving in the back and changing the radio station we take the risk. Most sat-navs have a security feature built in that pop up a warning notice if buttons start being pushed while the vehicle is moving, basically saying using it while moving is dangerous and push ok to confirm that you’re the passenger.

I can’t say I’ve encountered many slow going people because of a sat-nav, seen people distracted by the street directory (guilty of it too). The number one distraction I encounter is when the driver is having a brilliant discussion with the front seat passenger and wanders slowly over the road with the hand movements.

Steady Eddie 3:20 pm 16 May 09

Athllon Drive near Mt Taylor? The main problem there is roos crossing the road.

Postalgeek 2:16 pm 16 May 09

obviously the monkeys need to be consenting

Postalgeek 2:15 pm 16 May 09

The Poms seem to be adopting a common-sense approach with a blanket law. I was reading a UK column the other day in which the author was whining about all the stupid little ‘micro-crimes’ that exist now, the “trivial, everyday acts [that] come under the heading ‘driving without due care and attention'”. She then goes on to say she thinks it’s “rich to try to dictate what people get up to in the privacy of their own car”.

Such mentality, evidently endemic, is a very scary thought. People can be rooting monkeys in the back of their car for all I care, as long as it’s stationary and off the road. Once they decide to take their 1-2 ton ‘personal space’ onto the public road at 100 km/h, where the only thing that prevents their 1-2 ton ‘personal space’ from ploughing into a crowd of pedestrians is their focus, then all discussion about the right-to -do-what-you-want-in-your-car goes out the window.

When it comes to driving, zero-tolerance seems to be the only way to get the message across. Enforcing it is a whole different matter…

astrojax 2:00 pm 16 May 09

the government ought to make some road safety ads to address this kind of deadly dangerous behaviour.

pptvb 1:32 pm 16 May 09

I love the cars with their Sat-Nav’s mounted in the middle of the windscreen.
Vision obscured much?
taxis have been fiddling with their navigation things for years,
they seem legal.

MrPC 12:43 pm 16 May 09

Why just Sat-Nav? Just the other day I was on Hindmarsh Drive (wrong side of town for me) and I was busy studying the Gregorys to figure out where the heck I was going when I almost missed a Green light. The guy stopped behind me was fuming as I looked in the rear view mirror and waved.

Clown Killer 12:35 pm 16 May 09

I’d guess fannying about with a sat-nav would be covered under the same laws as those for using a mobile phone. If people are doing it at the lights and not paying attention that’s probably more selfish than unsafe – but I get your point.

I have an integrated nav. system in my car which is pretty easy to use, but it’s still not the sort of thing that you’d want to be fiddling with while you were driving. The time difference between pulling over and getting your destination sorted and stuffing about as you go will be bloody minimal.

Besides, who needs sat-nav in Canberra when you can just keep driving and take a random series of left and right turns and you’ll eventually find where you want to go – for folks from out of town, just remember: don’t indicate, stay in the right hand lane at all time (unless turning right on a round-a-bout in which case you should be in the left hand lane), and try to stay as close as you can to the driver in front … with your fog lights on.

Icepoet 12:11 pm 16 May 09

From what I remember when I learnt to drive around 5 years ago, it was illegal to do anything in a vehicle that takes a drivers attention away from the road. So technically drivers using MP3’s, mobile phones, dvd players, gps devices can all be fined if it’s proven that they were not paying attention to the road.

Mind you, this is what I was told by my driving instructor – I don’t have the specific law to show you.

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