READING a map correctly is vital for getting from A to B.

But it’s a skill not all of us possess, with the the average Brit spending the equivalent of almost two weeks of their life LOST.

 Brits spend on average the equivalent of two weeks of their lives lost

Try our interactive quiz to see how you compare.

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.

Where We Get Lost Most Often

“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 halves.

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.

How To Avoid Getting Lost

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.

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.

For more information on map reading, including handy tips, visit

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