The Anonymous Widower

Do Sat-Navs Exploit Rat Runs

This afternoon my son brought me home in his car through North-East London.

  • He was using a sat-nav and it was a mazy drive down a succession of narrow residential roads usually with cars parked on both sides.
  • I’m sure we did two totally unnecessary loops.
  • He also approached my house the wrong way, so he did two unnecessary right turns.

I’ve never used a sat-nav and doubt I ever will, as I don’t drive any more and when I’m walking, I prefer to use a proper map, like there are on most London bus stops or train stations.

I wonder how many acxcidents and traffic jams are caused by sat-navs.



November 17, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | ,


  1. My experience of satellite navigation, over many years and in many countries, is that it is a real benefit. Google Maps is the best at the moment, as it responds so quickly to traffic conditions, knows about new roads, and doesn’t need to have maps loaded. It uses the fastest not the shortest route and often offers alternatives along with the additional time for each. It is also good when walking in a area you don’t know. One can ask for “the nearest cafe”, or to a specific address, postcode, or company. No need to type on a tiny keyboard; just talk. There are times when a satnav uses a route that appears to be crazy, but on the few occasions when I have decided it must be wrong, I have regretted it, ending up in a queue waiting to get past an accident. It does occasionally have a data error, but these are soon fixed by experience. Oh and one other thing; it is free.

    Comment by John Wright | November 18, 2019 | Reply

    • Never used one! I do print out a Google Map of my walking route, when I get off a train.

      Comment by AnonW | November 18, 2019 | Reply

  2. I do use a satnav on occasions, and find it very helpful. The only time I have a problem is one particular place I visit, when it takes me all around a housing estate and finally brings me back to the main road about 200 yards further along. I have no idea at all why. Now I know how to get there, and so ignore the instruction to turn left onto the housing estate.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | November 18, 2019 | Reply

  3. When going a long way SatNav is really handy for the last bit on roads you don’t know. Lets face it, if you sere driving from London to Glasgow you don’t need a map apart from the last bit.

    And yes, they can send you round back streets/rat runs. So, it is important that they are regularly updated.

    Comment by mauricegreed | November 19, 2019 | Reply

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