By Kirsty Quartley, Garmin PND Product Manager
Every year Brits seem to be left stranded and helpless when terrible weather hits – this is surprising considering it’s England! However there are ways to increase your safety on the roads this winter, and that is technology. In 2014 the technology that we have available at our finger tips helps us keep up to date with potential dangers on the roads and aware of any severe weather changes. Here’s our top five ways that tech can help you avoid, and get through the worst.
Make a note to “Check-In”
If you’re travelling a long distance or will be away for some time, family members may worry if the weather deteriorates. However, the latest feature to hit sat navs is Foursquare! This allows you to “check in” at various destinations and waypoints which can then be fed through to Foursquare’s website, so your friends and family can keep track of where you are if you need to brace the treacherous conditions.
Make use of Bluetooth features
During bad weather there is enough to contend with on the road without having your mobile phone vying for your attention too. Make a conscious effort to switch your mobile to silent mode and place it out of hands reach and eyes view so not even notification lights distract you. However, if you’re awaiting an urgent phone call, sync a Bluetooth-enabled device, such as your smart phone, to an advanced sat nav for hands-free calling. Through the sat nav’s integrated microphone and speaker you can place your phone in your pocket or purse and still make and take calls, therefore keeping your hands free for steering.
Update your sat nav
You’ll be surprised at how outdated some nat navs can be and this can cause real issues in normal conditions let alone during more treacherous winter weather. Our research shows that almost half of people (40%) never update their sat nav or software – this may go some way in explaining why the same percentage of people (40%) refuse to openly admit that they regularly find themselves lost and refusing to seek help for fear of embarrassment. Roads come and go, and the winter weather can lead to some roads being shut down. Updating your sat nav ensures you get the best route to your destination and with digital traffic alerts you’ll be guided through the conditions more easily.
Take the busy route – yes, really
In snowy conditions, the main roads are likely to have been cleared of snow and been gritted so contrary to popular belief, taking the busy route may prove to be the quicker and safer one. If you’re unsure of a main road route the Garmin Advanced range redefines “spoken turn-by-turn directions” with Garmin Real Directions - easy-to-understand driving directions that guide like a friend, using recognisable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights. No more stress from trying to read street names! Instead, hear clearly spoken guidance, like “turn left after the petrol station.”
Finding shelter from the storm
Even if you somehow started your journey in lovely sunshine, the weather can quickly take a turn for the worse, especially in the case of a storm. The Garmin Essential and Advanced range includes an ‘up ahead’ feature which finds places such as petrol stations and restaurants so you can make a plan to pull in and take shelter from any heavy hail storms until conditions improve.