It’s all about postcodes nowadays, or street names and numbers. Whereas before sat nav became widely available – which was back in the mid 1990s, I guess; before the BMW X5 had been thought of, and when people under 30 could actually afford to buy their first home – one would actually use something called a map and use one’s brain to determine where places were before deducing how one might get there.
I mention this merely because, according to a recent survey carried out by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, an astonishing 67 per cent of young folks admit that they ‘don’t know how to use a map due to the introduction of devices like satellite navigation.’ Isn’t that sad?
A total of 1976 drivers under the age of 25 took part in the survey, apparently, and respondents were initially asked if they were able to read a road map, to which 67 per cent of people replied ‘no’. When asked to stipulate why, 78 per cent said that they ‘didn’t need to’ because of sat nav.
You can’t blame Tom Tom & Co for making a mint out of our natural penchant for laziness, but it’s nevertheless indicative of our herd instinct that we’ve all taken to sat nav in droves since it was invented in 1984 (by a gentleman called Steven Lobbezoo from Berlin, by all accounts, although Alpine claims to have developed the first automotive navigation system back in 1991).
And the thing is, we’re all guilty of it – apart from Keith and Candice-Marie, that is, who will always crack open an ordnance survey map and use a grid reference to orienteer themselves from one place to another, even if that merely involves rambling from the kitchen to the latrine beneath the stairs. Fact is, using a sat nav to find a hotel in the middle of nowhere, in a country you’ve never visited before, is easily the best option. But it does mean that when you get there, you’ll have no idea where you are within the universe. And without a sat nav, you’d have equally little clue how to get back.
So here’s the thing. How about the next time you go somewhere, anywhere, you use a map. And your brain. And maybe your sense of smell, too. And when you arrive at wherever you’re going (because you will), see if it feels any different (it probably won’t). And anyway, if you do get lost, you can always plug in the sat nav to take you back to wherever you just came from…