SATELLITE navigation systems are leading huge numbers of drivers astray in Yorkshire.
A survey by rural insurance firm NFU Mutual has shown that a quarter of satnav users will follow the device’s instructions even if it appears to be sending them the wrong way or down an unsuitable lane.
This can lead to incidents such as lorries becoming stuck in narrow streets – like the one pictured which became stuck on St Mark’s Road in Longwood in February.
The survey was commissioned because of the NFU’s concern about high levels of accidents on rural roads.
Government statistics show that drivers are three times more likely to die on a country road than an urban one, partly because they do not appreciate the specific risks of driving in rural areas.
According to the survey, 91% of people think rural roads are the least safe – but 35% of people said they did not drive more slowly on them as a result.
In fact, 8% of men and 4% of women said they drove faster on rural roads – and 15% of drivers aged 18 to 24 admitted the same thing.
However, those drivers familiar with rural Yorkshire did take extra care.
Around 90% said they approached bends with extreme caution and 94% slowed down for horses on the road.
These drivers also seemed to be more courteous, with 80% thanking other motorists who pull over to let them pass.
Peter Allen, NFU Mutual regional board chairman, said: “The survey shows that there is still an alarming lack of knowledge about the hazards of rural roads.
“It’s particularly worrying that a quarter of satnav users in the north continue to follow the gadget’s instructions when their eyes tell them they are heading up a farm track.”
He said major hazards – especially in summer – include farm vehicles and increased tourist traffic.
He said: “An alarming number of most serious accidents on rural roads involve farm vehicles coming into collision with fast-moving cars, lorries and motorcycles.
“Many of these accidents are the result of human error, often due to lack of concentration by drivers, undue speed or faulty equipment.”