Using your phone for directions in the car could break the law

A recent investigation by Admiral car insurance While more than half of drivers in the UK rely on a sat nav to get around, almost a quarter (22%) of drivers say they use a map app on a mobile phone to get around.

If you rely heavily on the navigation app on your mobile phone, drivers can not only be distracted while driving, but also break the law.

When asked where they leave their phones while driving, 14% said they would leave it in an unsafe place, either in the passenger seat, rested, but not attached to the dashboard or lap.

Drivers caught touching their phones could be fined heavily and given points on their driver’s license.

The research found that one in 20 drivers landed in a bus lane, one fifth (21%) took the wrong exit, and 17% were lost while driving after a navigation device or phone app for directions.


Number of drivers who made a mistake on the road by following sat navs or maps on a phone app



Wrong turned



Wrong exit taken






Driven in the wrong lane on a motorway



Driven in a bus lane


Analysis of Admiral’s own data revealed a high number of accidents involving motorists who used a telephone or sat nav for directions. Admiral examined the reasons for the accidents and identified 11 categories why the use of a navigation device or a phone card app led to accidents:

Admiral’s 11 rules for navigation and calling card claims:

  1. Navigation devices can give incorrect instructions
  2. People are often distracted looking at their satnav or phone
  3. Some of the instructions on a sat nav are complicated and confusing
  4. Navigational accidents can be the fault of the other driver using one
  5. Navigation devices do not inform you about the road conditions
  6. Navigation devices cannot tell you what traffic signs are saying
  7. Road signs and road markings change, but navigation devices are not always up to date
  8. Roundabouts appear to be a particular problem for navigation device users
  9. Just like getting on the right track
  10. And one-way streets
  11. City roads are usually worse than country roads for navigational accidents

Admiral found that drivers using map phone apps or navigation devices often reported receiving incorrect instructions, which led directly to an accident.

Admiral also identified that drivers often accused the devices of distracting them, leading to an accident.

Other claims have been made because the driver found himself on the wrong lane while tracking navigation or map apps on his phone and then tried to correct himself. Roundabout-related accidents were another common accident topic identified by the insurer.

Clare Egan, Head of Motor Product at Admiral, said: “With over five million drivers not feeling safe enough to read a map with directions, many of us rely heavily on technology to get from A to B, but telephone Apps and navigation devices can cause their own problems.

“At Admiral, we’ve seen examples of people using either their sat nav or phone having an accident because they were too distracted from the device to focus on the road and faced potential hazards. ”

“Our research shows the importance of ensuring that you, the driver, can safely follow directions and act safely, even if you have made a mistake.

“Whenever you go to a new location make sure you are prepared. Check the route before you go. If you think you have taken the wrong turn, always stop and turn off the engine before you go.” Check your phone or sat nav to make sure you are not breaking the law.

“It’s also a good idea to keep a traditional street map or atlas in your car in case your phone runs out of power or your sat nav sends you down the wrong road. Getting lost can be frustrating, but the time you can save looking at your phone while driving, rather than on the road, will never be worth harming the lives of yourself or others. “


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