1/3 of UK motorists can't read basic road map

n astounding 83 per cent are unable to identify the 'motorway' map symbol, thanks to the increase in popularity of satnav

An increasing reliance by drivers on satellite navigation systems has been partially blamed for the deterioration in traditional map-reading skills among UK motorists, according to the Mail on Sunday . New research has found that over a third of UK motorists cannot read a basic road map. An astounding 83 per cent are unable to identify the 'motorway' map symbol, says a recent survey commissioned by esure .

Not that it matters - apparently only one in six keep a map in their car these days. And the majority (63 per cent) of those that do have only an out-of-date map. The same percentage of UK drivers - that's some 21 million people - would be lost without their satnav system, the research found. A further 8 per cent went so far as to admit that they could not live without theirs.

"It's time for motorists to take a refresher in map reading skills," said Scott Sinclair from Ordnance Survey, Britain's national mapping agency. "Technology is great but the batteries won't run out on a paper map. No serious hill walker would rely totally on a GPS device in case the power goes or the signal is lost, so it should be the same for the motorist."

Our sole reliance on satnav is not only potentially dangerous - it could be costing us extra money as well, says esure's Colin Batabyal. "Better map reading means safer driving, which in turn ensures our customers can be offered as low a premium as possible."

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.