In an age where many of us have satnavs built into our cars or smartphones, one may presume that getting lost while driving is now a thing of the past. But British drivers collectively spend more than seven million* hours lost while driving every month, according to new research from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, released ahead of the August bank holiday, when around 13m cars are expected to be on the roads to enjoy the long weekend.
While 84% of UK motorists have a satnav (up from 54% ten years ago) the research found that in total, a huge 38% admit that they have been lost while driving in the past month – for an average of 28 minutes. And many admit they only have themselves to blame – 60% say they got lost because they weren’t paying attention, 30% say they tried to beat the satnav by trying to take a better route to avoid congestion and 24% just didn’t follow the satnav’s instructions.
The research, which was conducted among 4,500 motorists from the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and Ireland, found that British drivers were the most likely to get lost. And when drivers from the UK do get lost, they’re not comfortable asking for help. Just 42% say that they are prepared to ask for directions when they find they don’t know where they are going.
In most instances, getting lost is little more than an inconvenience, but the consequences can be more serious. One in 20 British drivers (5%) say that they have even called 999 after getting severely lost in their car. And not knowing the way can lead to missing important events and dealing with the unexpected – 5% say they have missed a flight or a wedding, while 4% have had to camp in the car for the night after getting lost.
Given that getting lost can lead to sudden overnight stays and changes of plans, UK motorists may perhaps need to prepare more for the possibility that they may lose their way. In fact, when heading off on a long journey, drivers from the UK are more likely to check that they have a pair of sunglasses in the car (40%) than they are to take extra clothes and blankets (22%) or carry a first aid kit (34%).
Ben Lawson, Vice President of Rental for Europe, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, says: “Even with all the technology at our fingertips, getting lost while driving is still something we all have to deal with. Over the summer, many of us drive abroad on holiday, and in many cases on roads that we are unfamiliar with. Being prepared in case you do get lost on the road is important, especially as, on average, our research shows that people driving to or during their holidays this summer will be covering more than 500 miles. Closer to home, millions of Brits will be hitting the roads to get away during the bank holiday – and no one wants to start their break off by not being able to find their destination.
“We would advise anyone renting a vehicle to ask the team at the counter for help. If you don’t have a map or your own GPS, companies like Enterprise can rent you one by the day. You can also access our roadside assistance for help in any country, or reach out to one of our local branches if you are lost. In the UK, for example, we have around 450 locations around the country, so we’re never far away and we’re happy to help.”