Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt BusinessCar Office Blog: 17 July 2009 - Losing my voice
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BusinessCar Office Blog: 17 July 2009 - Losing my voice

Date: 17 July 2009   |   Author: Tony Rock

BusinessCar Office, yesterday

Someone keeps turning off the voice commands on the cars that come equipped with satnav.

It's not a huge problem (why doesn't he just reactivate the voice commands? I hear you scream) but it is very irritating, particularly as I never notice until after I've input a destination, usually at a lay-by or set of traffic lights once I'm near my destination, and set off driving - in silence.

It's not until my electronic female companion hasn't reassuringly confirmed that I should really be taking the third left at the roundabout that I realise I'm driving solo. Cue flustering, a display of male agitation, and quick fumbling with nav controls as I try to work out how to get some aural instructions, by which time I've missed a sharp right and have to disappear down a narrow country lane for 10 miles without any opportunity of a U-turn. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but you get my point.

I could just use the visual display, but I prefer to keep my eyes on the roads when I'm not sure where I should be heading. Or I could be more organised and include the satnav volume as part of my pre-flight check, but I'm not that sort of person. Nor would I want to be.

While I personally can't comprehend why anyone would want to turn down the satnav sound anyway, author Joe Moran, who has written a book called On Roads: A Hidden History, has a theory he's expressed on the BBC's website.

He reckons: "Men in particular seem to recoil from being given digital instructions, and read the satnav woman's pregnant pauses, or her curt phrases like 'make a legal U-turn' and 'recalculating the route', as stubborn or bossy."

I don't - the way in which I use the system I can only regard it as extremely useful and not at all annoying - but I do have simple suggestion for the phantom satnav switcher-offer if it is the female voice that is the problem: go to 'options' and choose a male baritone instead.