An AA spokesman was standing by the figures which he said were based on research in the UK and US. He said that even on familiar territory drivers added an unnecessary 6.5% to journeys and 12% to journey times.
On unfamiliar ground - where fleet drivers spend much of their time - the percentages rise to 20% on mileage and up to 40% on time. The spokesman said: 'A lot of fleet drivers are often in areas where they have no idea where to go. Even when I drive in familiar areas there must be many occasions when I do not take the shortest route.'
AA behavioural psychologist Matthew Joint said women were more likely to ask directions instead of relying on maps and consequently tend to take more wrong turnings in unfamiliar areas. One company working on the problem is BMW but it sees its CARIN navigation system as a product enhancement taking the driver to his destination with less stress.