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Is sat nav leading you up the garden path?

A 40-tonne truck became stuck in a country lane at Yalding in March.
A 40-tonne truck became stuck in a country lane at Yalding in March.

Traffic jams down quiet country lanes, cars driving into rivers, lorries becoming wedged in hedgerows – sometimes the convenience of a satellite navigation system seems more trouble than it's worth.

With an increasing number of foreign truckers relying on the in-vehicle technology to guide them through Kent, the problems are steadily getting worse for rural residents.

And a survey by consumer watchdog Which? last year found that more than 40 per cent of people with sat nav have ended up lost or taken a much longer route to their destination because of the in-car technology.

Now Kent Highways Services (KHS) is writing to sat nav manufacturers, imploring them to make sure their equipment navigates truckers safely and practically through the county.

And we want to know your views on sat nav systems. Vote in our poll at the bottom of this page and have your say on our SpeakOut.

Last month, a Hungarian driver and his 40-tonne truck became stuck when his sat nav directed him down a tiny country lane in Yalding, near Maidstone and he was unable to turn around to avoid a fallen tree.

Cllr Geraldine Brown, chairman of Yalding Parish Council, said at the time: "We have been moaning about sat nav for a long time and with good reason. Anyone can see that that lane is not suitable for a 40ft articulated lorry to go down."

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Some towns and villages around the country have taken to putting up signs warning drivers not to follow sat nav directions down unsuitable roads – something the residents of Mereworth, also near Maidstone, are in dire need of.

Last year, a Slovenian driver followed a diversion from the M20 during the Tour de France, and found himself stuck for several hours in narrow section of Beech Road in Mereworth, taking out a few power cables with him.

Nearby Wateringbury has also had numerous problems in the last year, with massive trucks becoming wedged down country lanes car and causing long delays.

KHS said foreign truckers becoming stuck because of the equipment was an increasing problem, possibly because drivers are being given sat nav systems intended for cars and not a 40-tonne juggernaut.

KHS spokesman Phil Scrivener said: "We have spoken to manufacturers to get them to direct HGVs away from these problem routes, but the equipment general shows drivers the most direct route to a destination, which may not be suitable.

"Lorries will have to be sent on longer routes because these shortcuts are not adapted for vehicles of that size.

"We hope changes will be made, but in the end it is totally up to the manufacturers."

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