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Map24 offers drivers advice for safe navigation over the festive period

With the festive season just around the corner, sales of satellite navigation (sat nav) equipment are expected to reach bumper proportions this Christmas. And even before the big day arrives, thousands of people throughout the UK will be using their new devices for the first time to route their way to holiday locations, friends and relatives, both in the UK and abroad.

Throughout 2006 there were several incidents involving the improper, inexperienced and inexplicable use of sat nav systems, some laughable and others quite serious. Cars, lorries, coaches, caravans and even ambulances have all ended up in farcical situations.

Ahead of the Christmas getaway, Map24, the company that enables drivers to pre-plan their journeys safely on the Internet, is reiterating its simple ten point guide to responsible navigation for drivers of just about anything.

Earlier this year motorists were stranded in several feet of water after satellite navigation systems diverted drivers away from a road closure and into a river. Several vehicles were inadvertently guided across a ford on the River Avon in Wiltshire, close to the village of Luckington. The problem occurred because of a main road closure and drivers needed to find alternative routes. Satellite systems sent traffic into the village and across the ford known appropriately as The Splash.

In another incident, an ambulance took almost two hours to take an injured girl to hospital after it was misdirected to the scene of the accident by its satellite navigation system. In another well-reported incident involving an ambulance, a crew transferring a patient to hospital travelled 200 miles in an eight-hour journey to Manchester. The driver had been tasked with taking the patient 12 miles across Essex from King George Hospital in Ilford to Mascalls Park Hospital near Brentwood. The sat nav system was blamed as being faulty.

And earlier this year, sat nav users near the village of Crackpot in Yorkshire found themselves dicing with death close to a 100ft drop that was well off the beaten track.

Other incidents have included a coach load of day-tripping pensioners stranded in a field and lorries wedged between buildings.

“This year has seen an upsurge in sales of sat nav systems and Christmas will see record numbers of the devices bought,” says Chris Wallett, Managing Director of Map24 in the UK. “Most people use them wisely and safely but there are too many incidents of drivers relying far too much on their systems. They take a bit of getting used to and with the holiday season typically a time for people to get away, it’s worth planning properly. More information than ever before is available to drivers.”

The advice is to plan ahead, particularly if drivers are aiming to travel through unfamiliar surroundings. “This is possible by planning a journey on the Internet,” explains Chris Wallett. “Up to date traffic information and reports can help, particularly if your journey is the next day. The Internet now offers a wealth of detailed information about routes, stop points, road closures, and so on.”

Mapsolute’s online mapping portal, www.Map24.com, provides users with a host of route planning features, including traffic information, stop off points for a break and visual information that helps drivers to navigate with more information than just roads.


Map24’s Advice on Safe and Responsible Road Navigation is:

1. Plan ahead especially for unfamiliar routes. This is possible by using the Internet in the comfort of your home or office rather than risking too many decisions whilst driving.

2. Just because a satellite navigation system sends you down a route, always pay very close attention to road signs.

3. Always pay attention to the road ahead, and not the voice of the satellite navigation system which is after all just a programmed machine. Although the voice may sound real, don’t trust it in every scenario!

4. Listen to the radio for traffic updates. If possible, plan ahead by programming local radio stations into your car radio - you will receive far more detailed traffic reports than those given on national radio station broadcasts.

5. Leave plenty of time for your journey. If you are unsure about how long it might take, check ahead first by plotting your journey on the Internet.

6. Use commonsense. If the road that your sat nav is pointing to looks as if it could present problems, eg a single track road with few passing points, then seek an alternative third or fourth route – even if it’s longer.

7. Be prepared to switch off the sat nav system and use a map or ask local people for directions. Even Diversion signs can be confusing and it is better to have more local information.

8. If you have discovered an alternative route on a regular journey (to work, for instance) be considerate of the local people and environment. If it takes you through a village and past a busy school, for example, be prepared to take the longer route if you feel that it’s safer for the children.

9. Many websites now contain directions and up to date information offered by hotels, etc. Check ahead, if possible, to find out if there are any current restrictions or limitations on parking.

10. And finally, remember it is better to arrive late than not at all!
Ends

For further information, please contact:

Glen Goldsmith
2thefore
Mobile: +44 (0)7812 766 338
Email: glen@2thefore.biz

For further information about Mapsolute and Map24.com, please contact:

Chris Wallett
Mapsolute Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)20 7849 3356
Email: chris.wallett@mapsolute.co.uk



Editors Notes


About Mapsolute and Map24

Mapsolute (www.mapsolute.com) is a leading developer of online mapping and geographical software. The company’s headquarters are in Frankfurt, Germany, and Mapsolute also has offices in the UK, the US and Finland. Mapsolute has five million unique users a month to the Internet portal www.map24.com, the specialist for mapping, directions and local search. More than 1.5 million routes are calculated daily. Map24 is marketed by partners in 14 countries worldwide.

Customers of Map24 in the UK include RAC, BBC, Lenovo and Renault. MapTP, Mapsolute’s award-winning mapping technology which underlies Map24, has been integrated into many of the popular fleet management systems, tracking products, traffic information applications and online mobile devices.

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