A WARNING has been issued to motorists not to ‘blindly’ follow their sat-navs after a teenager using one for the first time was killed by driving into the path of a van and passing warning signs.
Laura Louise Salford, aged 17, of Church Street, Greasbrough, Rotherham, was enjoying a ‘road trip’ with two friends the day after finishing her exams and just weeks after passing her driving test when she suffered fatal injuries in the accident.
An inquest heard Laura had a minor bump in her first days of driving and told her parents she was going swimming near her home - but instead took her pals to Hull and then to Bridlington.
She was using a TomTom sat-nav for the first time.
The device did not warn her of the approaching crossroads close to Walkington, near Beverley, where the minor road she was on crossed a main road.
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said after the inquest: “It is absolutely vital drivers give their full concentration to the road ahead, and never blindly follow a sat-nav.”
Glen Simpson, driving his works van at around 45mph to 50mph, told the Hull inquest: “Out of the corner of my eye I saw something black, I didn’t see the type of vehicle. There was nowhere I could go, I collided straight into the side of the car.”
Collision investigator Ian Clark followed the route taken by the girls using the same sat-nav.
He said the teenager may have been ‘over-reliant’ on her sat-nav.
He said: “The road signs are there. They are clearly visible and were there to be seen by any driver. Why they weren’t seen or observed, it is not possible to comment.
“The sat-nav system they were using at this particular crossroads is telling you the next place where you are required to make an adjustment is a quarter of a mile further on.
“It is common to all sat-nav devices I have examined - if you are travelling and the road is straight on at a crossroads, sat-nav will give you no indication – it expects you to follow the rules of the road.
“I think unwittingly she followed the sat-nav religiously and it lulled them into a false sense of the belief they had right of way at this junction.”
Assistant deputy coroner Rosemary Baxter recorded a verdict of accidental death.