Want to get the best from your in-car sat-nav guidance? Here are our top five Dos and Don’ts.

SAT-NAV KILLED paper maps, but your brain is still required. Too many people just punch in a destination and head off. Using your car’s sat nav sure makes getting places easier, but you still need to plan your trip.


  1. Sanity check your destination – Any idea how many Lismores or Halls Gaps there are in Australia? You could very easily be off in the wrong direction. Zoom out to check you are heading roughly where you need to be… especially that your destination is in the correct state!
  2. Use voice prompts – It’s much safer to listen to the voice prompts than look at the screen
  3. Get a re-prompt – Forget where you are? Your sat nav should be able to re-prompt at any time.
  4. Trust traffic displays – These days your sat nav should know where the traffic is better than you, and route you around it as best as it can.
  5. Plug it in – GPS and continous stream display, plus voice prompts take battery power. Ensure your unit is plugged in to a 12v socket.

Do not:

  1. Set your home address – If the unit or your car is stolen, then theives know where you live. Just set ‘home’ to the nearest shopping cenre.
  2. Hand-hold – Use a proper mount. If the unit didn’t come with one, or it’s your phone, get a decent mount from the likes of RAM or Click-On.
  3. Disobey road signs – If the road is closed, don’t drive on it even if your sat nav says so. If the road has a “4X4 only” sign and you’re not in a 4X4, don’t drive on. You get the idea.
  4. Use outdated maps – Aged maps may be dangerous. Update or repalce the unit.
  5. Get caught out by no Internet access – If you use your phone for navigation then you’ll almost certainly be reliant on Internet access. Which is fine until you drive far out enough that you lose it, and then what?

In short, use sat nav as a driver aid and you’ll be fine. Rely on it, and you’ll be in trouble. While plenty of people spruik the use of their smartphone, via either Apple Car Play or Android Auto as the best sat-nav alternative to a native sat-nav unit a recent poll on Practical Motoring revealed that more than half of all readers preferred an embedded unit. Portable units were second and using smartphones was third, although the results had both portable and smartphone sat-nav neck-and-neck.



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  1. If you use your phone for navigation then you’ll almost certainly be reliant on Internet access..

    Hmm my Windows Phone runs fine without internet access using the offline maps feature? Surely you can offline the maps on Android and Apple?

    1. Yes, google maps will in the background download a fairly broad coverage on the edge of your destination it maps so you have alternate directs should you have to detour etc. Apple maps does this also.

  2. I love using my phone because I use Tom Tom Australia, Tom Tom Go, Google Maps & Apple Maps. All at various times. If going on a freeway etc I use Tom Tom Go as it has speed cameras and Google Traffic/back end supports and mapping, google maps most regularly because I have found it finds most new routes when busy and is genuinely accurate. Apple Maps for ease when using contacts but it isnt perfect on locations and has taken me down roads that do not continue through regularly in collingwood Vic. and data free old maps Tom Tom Australia because its always worked for just speed and when I dont want to use any data at all.

  3. Missed one.
    Use your bloody brain.
    Dont go driving onto train tracks because GPS lady said “Turn left/right now”
    Dont go driving into lakes

    As for my phone GPS needing internet access.
    I use the navigon maps provided by samsung on my S5.
    The maps are outdated, but this can be compensated for by using your head.

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