Are voice-only directions the best navigation option for drivers?

April 20, 2011 12:00 AM

A new study released by OnStar and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute discovered that voice-controlled navigation systems are much safer than in-vehicle visual directional aids.

The study compared a cell-phone directions app, a personal navigation device (PND), OnStar's Turn-by-Turn directions which are voice-controlled and printed directions.

According to researchers, OnStar's Turn-by-Turn program let drivers keep their eyes on the road longer, took the least amount of time to request directions and enabled the best vehicle handling among the four forms of navigation used.

"With the simple push of a button, OnStar provides a human interaction that offers immediate, knowledgeable and personalized attention. This is what continues to set us apart from the competition," said Tom Jeffers, the vice president of OnStar's public policy.

And while voice-only directions appear to be safer, many of the drivers enjoy having a visual aid. However, researchers found that an average of 20 seconds was needed to enter a destination when using these visual products.

Jeffers admitted that "people are going to use technologies...that may lead to distractions." He added, however, that OnStar offers safer services by providing applications such as Turn-by-Turn. 

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