I’d assumed it was just tabloid journalists exaggerating, finding one or two examples and talking them up, to make a good story.
But no. It’s true.
People with sat nav in their cars believe the software rather than their own brains.
Two sets of visitors have failed to understand what we tried to tell them.
“There is no street name, it’s just a village. I can give you directions.”
“There’s a new road just opened which won’t be on Tom Tom. I can give you directions.”
Directions were not requested, drivers drove around aimlessly, trying to find the house.
Person-to-person directions have become a thing of the past, which suits me fine as I can’t concentrate on what someone is telling me for long enough to get past the “You come off the motorway at junction 6” part.
But in rural France there is no alternative.
You have to listen for long enough to get to the “Turn left at the bus stop and then take the second right after the big hedge” part.
Otherwise you are well and truly lost.
I was introduced to the unreliable vagaries of sat nav in Hamburg last year.
We were in one car with sat nav, following another car, also with sat nav.
We were guests so we were dutifully following our hosts, assuming they knew a better route than our car’s sat nav, which had been saying
“Turn left, I said left, no not right you idiot, do a u-turn immediately” – or words to that effect – for some time.
When we eventually found ourselves following our hosts through what looked like a container port, we were impressed with the level of local knowledge they’d built up in only two months of living in the city.
Then they stopped, we stopped, and the driver got out of the car and walked across to us, not looking proud of his time-saving short cut.
“Er, I’m not sure why we’re here. What does your sat nav say?”
Our poor little machine was quietly fuming on the dashboard, cross at being ignored and unwilling to give up its secrets.
“We did wonder why it was shouting at us,” I said.
Scenes like this are being played out across the land, leading truckers up narrow lanes they can’t fit through, and motorists through raging rivers that Tom Tom thinks are babbling brooks.
The house we’re staying in is at he edge of the village, and if I’m outside I’m often called upon by motorists to give directions to the nearest camp site, or the nearest town.
It seems the French haven’t yet given up use of leurs cerveaux.