By Rob Knight

The average Brit spends the equivalent of almost two weeks of their life LOST, it has emerged.

Researchers found despite the rise of tech such as sat nav devices, we typically end up going the wrong way 24 times a year or more than 1,450 times over our lives.

It also emerged almost three quarters of us admit to having little or no sense of direction.

Unperturbed by this, almost one in four said they didn’t like asking for directions.

But if it got to the point they had to, women were more likely to admit they needed help from a passer-by than men are.

Commissioned by Ordnance Survey to celebrate National Map Reading Week, which takes place from 16 to 22 October, the research also found 65 per cent of us are not completely confident we can use a map.

Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure, said: “It’s quite surprising to see we spend so much of our lives lost – whether it be in supermarkets, in airports or when visiting somewhere new.

“Being lost is right up there with the most frustrating things in life, but the results suggest we take a degree of pride in getting to where we want to be – often passing up the chance to ask for help.

“Navigation can be quite a tricky skill, but it’s undoubtedly a useful one to have – sat nav devices and mapping apps are great but being able to read a paper map is a really valuable too.

“We want people to polish up on their map reading skills, for both paper and digital, to avoid getting lost!”

One third of women think they have a better sense of direction than their partner, but in contrast 60 per cent of men are adamant their navigational skills are stronger than their other half’s.

On average, we’ll wait 13 minutes and 14 seconds before asking someone for directions.

But asking for help doesn’t always work out, with 80 per cent admitting they have been confused by the instructions received.

Typically we start to get bewildered if the number of individual directions exceeds four.

And perhaps as result, 61 per cent have gotten even more lost attempting to follow directions received from a bystander.

The research carried out by OnePoll found sat nav devices are the solution to this for many, with 55 per cent admitting they depend on the tech to avoid getting lost.

A whopping 92 per cent said the gadgets get them to where they want to be.

Although a quarter have experienced signal failure and around one fifth have forgotten to pay attention to it and gotten lost.

A quarter of those polled said getting lost has landed them in trouble, with some missing out on jobs as result and others missing significant occasions such as funerals.

Nick Giles added: “National Map Reading Week provides the chance to polish up on map reading skills and at OS we want to make the outdoors enjoyable, accessible and above all safe.

“It’d be great to see families learning this important skill together and sharing their experiences with us.

“We have a host of resources on our website, and myself and the team would be pleased to help where we can with any questions.

“It’s fantastic the nation is getting outside more, but we must remember that there are parts of Great Britain which require preparation and experience.

“It’s vital we plan our adventures, from checking weather conditions to selecting the correct footwear, and choosing the right map to informing friends and family where you are going.”

For more information on map reading, including handy tips, visit: www.os.uk/nmrw


• Don’t panic
• Check your map feature on your phone
• Ask someone for directions if you can
• Check a map and use a compass
• Look for landmarks and try and locate them on your map
• Stop – don’t progress any further as you could get more lost
• During your travels, every so often look around you – this can help you remember the way back
• Always carry a paper map – you never know when batteries might fail and signals drop


1. Unfamiliar cities/towns
2. In a hospital
3. On holiday
4. Whilst driving to an unknown destination
5. Finding your car in the car park
6. Lost In the countryside
7. In mazes
8. When mall/department store shopping
9. In the airport
10. Anywhere when it’s dark
11. In supermarkets
12. When visiting family/friends who live in another city
13. In tube stations
14. When visiting theme parks
15. In mirror mazes
16. At concerts
17. In hotels
18. Finding a restaurant
19. Museum
20. At sports events
21. Looking for the railway station
22. Looking for the taxi rank
23. Finding a bar
24. On university campus
25. Looking for a garage
26. On the way home from pub
27. When going to/returning from work meetings
28. Walking the dog




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