A recent study has highlighted the effect of ageing on the ability to use vehicle satnavs.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the report ‘Older Drivers and Navigation Devices’, produced during the Summer of 2018.
The project examined older adults’ driving performance whilst driving to a familiar destination without navaids and also when following new routes using paper directions or a satnav.
It explored the effects of experience/familiarity in using satnav on driving, route-following and manual destination entry performance. It also investigated the impact of training in satnav destination entry performance as well as in subsequent driving behaviour.
Results included that:
- On average, all age and familiarity groups exhibited better driving performance when using satnav compared with paper directions.
- 70-year-old and older drivers who were previously unfamiliar with the use of satnav had the poorest driving test scores.
- People in their 60s performed better at entering destinations on satnavs.
- Also regarding data entry, those familiar with satnav outperformed those who were not.
- Training on the use of a satnav did not improve driving performance, but did improve performance on destination entry tasks.
The bottom line of the study suggests that satnavs are difficult for older drivers to program, but training can improve their ability to correctly enter destinations.
Final remarks are that driving performance benefits that such systems may afford cannot be realised if a user cannot correctly input a destination or becomes frustrated and rejects the use of the satnav altogether.