The number of drivers using satellite navigation technology to get around outweighed those who do not for the first time, according to the Department for Transport’s National Travel Survey, sparking warnings from road safety campaigners about their dangers.

Fifty-two percent of drivers reported that they used some type of satellite navigation gadget to get them to their destination during 2014, up by four percentage points from the previous year.

Research by Brake indicates that seven percent of drivers have experienced a near miss, had to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a hazard because they were distracted by a sat nav. Further evidence suggests that sat navs can cause drivers to go faster and be less observant.

Helen Williams, a specialist road traffic accident solicitor based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Bristol office, said: “Technology like satellite navigation systems have become ever more common as the way to get yourself from A to B. While they are designed to help drivers concentrate on the road rather than looking at a map, they bring safety risks too.

“Driving can be unpredictable and concentrating at all times is of paramount importance. We need to be alert to the risk that sat-navs become an excuse for people to stop looking at signs or road markings properly and drivers fail to react to unexpected problems or hazards.”