So you think Sat-Nav systems are only good for directing you from A to B? Well, think again! The Sat-Nav is fast becoming the motorist’s best friend. Those little boxes are getting smarter and smarter every day/ Helping you find the nearest take-away restaurant to ‘intelligent’ traffic jam avoidance. They can make you laugh, with spoof announcements and comedy voices. They’ll even turn up your central heating in time for you getting home!!

Here are just a few of the tasks your Sat-Nav can do:

Find Speed Cameras

Speed camera location is now a standard feature on most satellite-navigation units. Both aftermarket set-ups and those which are factory-fitted in brand new cars. Rather than reacting to radio waves. It uses Global Positioning System (GPS) to plot the bearings of fixed cameras, warns you when you are approaching one and reminds you of the correct speed.

More sophisticated ‘directional’ systems such as those from Road Angel will alert you only to cameras on your side of the road, rather than all units nearby, to cut down on confusion.

Mapping data needs to be updated regularly via the sat-nav maker’s website. To keep abreast of the ever-changing UK camera network. A subscription is usually charged for this service.

Lets you take the Scenic Route

The fastest route is not necessarily the prettiest. Picturesque alternatives are supplied by some manufacturers. TomTom offers its Scenic Routes: see for free downloads.

Alternatively, some devices, including high-spec Garmins and Navmans, allow you to choose a picture of a landmark you would like to see. The sat-nav then leads you to it. Location-tagged images can be viewed and selected on the companies’ respective websites, saved to your system, ready for you to simply hit the picture and go.

Monitor your Speed

GPS can also calculate this – far more accurately than most speedos. Which typically over-read by about 10 per cent.

Use Intelligent Navigation

A traffic-avoidance system which has been developed by Microsoft predicts the most likely routes taken by drivers to avoid jams and congestion. It then considers all possible alternative side streets to calculate the least busy circuit around the snarl-up. Called Clearflow, it’s currently available only in the US – downloaded for free via However, Microsoft is evaluating feedback with a view to introducing it to other markets.

Meanwhile, TomTom’s IQ Route uses genuine average speeds which are based on data collected from drivers to calculate journey times. Travelling during rush hour or on a road that is scattered with traffic-calming measures. For example, will mean a dramatically lower speed than a 30mph posted limit.

Give you Live Traffic Reports

Free real-time alerts about jams and roadworks are better than a crystal ball. They are available on units which incorporate Traffic Message Channel (TMC) or Radio Data System (RDS) receivers, such as the Becker Traffic Assist and Garmin nüvi. Allowing you to re-plan your route. Trafficmaster roadside sensors play a big role, too.

Advanced sat-navs such as the TomTom Traffic series have the option of automatically navigating you around the obstruction.

Now with the Internet of Things and wearable tech automating our lives more and more. It won’t be long before the kettle is boiled waiting for you to get home from work!

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