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BusinessCar Office Blog: 21 August 2007

Date: 21 August 2007   |   Author: John Mahoney


After my previous Italian escapades without satnav it's my belief that the technology should be made compulsory on humanitarian grounds...

Blind faith

After my previous Italian escapades without satnav it's my belief that the technology should be made compulsory on humanitarian grounds.

Picture the scene, the outskirts of Milan two weeks ago, and a regulatory cigarette paper separates a Milanese taxi driver from joining us in the cabin. In an outstanding display of driving made even more impressive by the ability to both chat on the phone and hang a Camel-armed hand into the 40C heat, but it's not just outside that's getting super-heated as the 16th hour of driving ticks by.

In front it's just as grim, with perhaps the width of a case or two of Chianti preventing two tonnes of Pathfinder mowing down a Punto, but lifting isn't an option. As soon as you do at least another Punto muscles in reducing the safety margin ever further.

Map reading makes no sense in times like these. Conflicting road signs confuse, urging you to peel off miles too early driving you deeper into the city's gridlocked heart and anyway, map reading in these conditions would be suicidal.

Getting others to do the mapping is of little help. With family on board you'd also get four other wide ranging different interpretations that nine times out of 10 only go to highlight how badly 'I' have gone wrong.

Not today though, today our map is safely tucked away back in London and we are well and truly in the lap of the satellite navigation gods.

I'm glad, despite all the hours cooped up and within a stone's throw distance of our goal, only the chaotic and manic Italians give rise to concern.

Even when it's hopelessly wrong, guiding us comically on an unmade road through a vineyard almost to the farmer's front door. In such situations, you just swear and blame the satnav not an innocent, but poorly functioning, human who will only go and breakdown in tears, jettison the map from the window and declare "it's over" and "I could be in the Bahamas right now with my friends living it up, rather than being chased around by scorpions in a rat-infested 'rustic farmhouse'".

I rest my case.