New rules about in-car mobile phone use aside, why using a GPS is the best thing for new drivers
Texting and driving – especially dangerous for younger drivers
Did you know that in most Australian states, if you’re a Learner, P1 or P2 driver, you can’t use can’t use your phone in the car at all, not even for maps on your mobile phone? From this September, in New South Wales you will lose five demerit points (up from four) if you are caught using your mobile phone while driving. Any Learner or P1 driver in NSW caught using a phone while driving will immediately lose their licence.
Those who think the mobile phone rules for new drivers are harsh should see this confronting video from the US, where teens talk about using their phones while driving. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is also calling for tougher penalties, and want drivers on their provisional or learner's licence who use their phone while driving to have their licences suspended for a year (currently it starts from three months’ suspension).
Why have the lawmakers taken such a tough stance on mobile phones and young drivers? While it’s important for all drivers to pay attention to the roads, it’s even more so when you are learning how to drive or are practising. You wouldn’t learn how to play tennis without keeping your attention on what’s happening in court, so why would you take your eyes off the road when you are learning to drive? By taking away the temptation to look at their phones, the road rules encourage inexperienced drivers to focus their attention on driving as they develop their skills.
Whether it’s illegal to use a mobile phone in the car or not, having a dedicated GPS can really help all new drivers in Australia and New Zealand. At Navman, we build our devices from the driver’s seat, creating features specifically with the needs of drivers in mind. We’ve studied how drivers of all experience levels behave in different circumstances, and our devices cater to different needs – for instance, providing guidance using a variety of visual, verbal or audio cues.
If you have a loved one who is a new driver, it can be scary to think of all the things that can go wrong on the roads. At least with a good GPS, it will give good guidance to help the young driver feel safer and more confident, and also encourages them to paying attention to what’s going on around them while they are gaining driving experience. A high quality GPS (like any from Navman’s range) will guide them legally to their destination without distraction, warn them about speed limits and school zones before they emerge, and so they are able to concentrate on what pedestrians and other drivers are up to.
Within the Navman range, there are three products that are perfect for new drivers. The MOVE75 (RRP$129), MOVE85LM (RRP159) and EZY450LMT (RRP169) all have simple menus and are loaded with great features like the digital logbook that makes it easy to log your driving hours, and much better guidance than you would get from your phone in any event. You’ll see Junction Views in 3D with arrows that give a perfect picture of which way to go. There is also Advanced Lane Guidance that advises the best lane to be in for an upcoming turn off as well as Spoken Street Names and Landmark Guidance, which for example, lets you know you need to look out for the McDonald’s in 200 metres and turn then. If you don’t know the precise address of your destination, you can use Smart Find keyword search, just type in words like ‘swimming pool’ or ‘Bill’s Café’ to find the destination.
Even better, learner drivers can avoid loss of precious demerit points and expensive fines because their Navman will warn about speed limit and red light and safety camera alerts ahead.
The MOVE85LM and EZY450 LMT offer Lifetime Map Updates for the most up-to-date maps as Australia, as well as the latest information about safety camera and speed limits. The EZY450LMT additionally offers Live Traffic Updates sourced from road cameras and national authorities and Smart Route which calculates the most efficient route based on time of day to save money on petrol.
If you are a new driver or care for one, do yourself (or them) a favour and get a Navman GPS. If you avoid one fine, it would have paid itself off already, and if it can prevent an accident, that’s priceless.