Did TomTom lead Laura into danger?
A teenager who died in a car accident may have crashed because she was concentrating too hard on her new satnav, an inquest was told on Thursday.
Laura-Louise Salford, 17, was using the TomTom device for the first time on a trip to the seaside with friends.
It gave no warning of a crossroads and - believing she had the right of way - she drove straight on without slowing down.
A van smashed into the side of her car, killing her instantly.
Salford was driving a Toyota Aygo that her parents had bought her after she had passed her driving test at the first attempt a few weeks earlier.
On the day of the crash - May 31 - she told them she was going to take two friends to a swimming pool near her home in Rotherham. Instead the trio went on a 100km trip to Hull and on to the resort of Bridlington.
On the way home the satnav did not indicate that the minor road she was on was about to cross a main road.
Glen Simpson, who was driving the van that hit her on the crossroads, told the inquest: “Out of the corner of my eye I saw something black. There was nowhere I could go, I collided straight into the side of the car.”
Driving conditions were good and there was no evidence either vehicle was breaking the speed limit.
Accident investigator Ian Clark followed Salford’s route using the same satnav and concluded the student’s over-reliance on the device may have been a factor.
“The road signs are there,” he said. “They are clearly visible. Why they weren’t seen or observed is not possible to comment on.
“The satnav system they were using is telling you the next place where you are required to make an adjustment is 400 metres further on.”
“SHE DIDN’T SPEAK, SHE WASN’T MOVING”
“It is common to all satnav devices I have examined; if you are travelling and the route is straight on at a crossroads, a satnav will give you no indication.
“I think unwittingly she followed the satnav religiously and it lulled them into a false sense of the belief they had right of way at this junction.”
Salford’s friends, Anna Johnson and Kimberley Wright, were both injured in the accident. Johnson said Salford was a careful driver. She told how she was knocked out in the crash, adding: “I remember waking up and seeing Laura’s face. She didn’t speak, she wasn’t moving.”
Hull assistant deputy coroner Rosemary Baxter recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying it was impossible to say why Laura had not stopped at the crossroads.
TomTom refused to comment.