December 28, 2006
Motorists who seem to turn off their brain when switching on their car's satellite navigation system have had a number of spectacular crashes in the past year -- but occasionally they're right to blame the machine.
Drivers obeying directions given by a sultry satnav voice have crashed into rivers, construction sites and roadside toilets in Germany, and had similar accidents in Britain.
"It's hard to understand how these things can happen," said Maximilian Maurer, spokesman for the German motoring club
"It's not as if people are driving in a tank with only a small slit to see out. You'd think they have their own eyes and brains engaged to make decisions and not rely on the satnav. I used to think satnavs were 'idiot-proof', but perhaps not."
In October a 53-year-old German, obeying his satnav's command "Turn right now!" jerked the wheel over and crashed into a roadside toilet hut 30 metres (yards) before the crossing he was meant to take, causing 2,000 euros ($2,600) damage.
A few weeks earlier, an 80-year-old motorist also followed his satnav instead of common sense and ignored a "closed for construction" sign on a Hamburg motorway. He hit a pile of sand at high speed but was not hurt.
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