Younger drivers, dubbed the ‘PlayStation generation’, have become too reliant on technological gadgets such as sat-navs to tell them what to do and are therefore more likely to get lost when they fail, it found.
Older motorists, meanwhile, are more inclined to rely on maps to plan their route and consequently have more successful journeys.
The research by the AA found that 52 per cent of drivers aged 18 to 24 have a sat-nav compared with only 28 per cent of the over-65s.
In the older age group, 95 per cent said they carried an atlas to help them plan their journeys. That has resulted in more than half of them, or 54 per cent, navigating successfully in the past year.
In contrast, drivers aged 18 to 24 are least likely to carry an atlas, with 30 per cent never having one in the car. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 82 per cent of this age group has been lost in the past year.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “Younger drivers who rely on modern technology for their navigational needs are the most prone to losing their way, while those relying on atlases are most accomplished at route planning.
“There is a real concern with the PlayStation generation raised on computer games, such as the X-Box and gadgets like the iPod and iPad.
“They have become too reliant on technology telling them what to do. So when they get into a car, they expect to be told where to go.
“That’s fine – until things go wrong or the sat-nav guides them to a ten-mile tailback.
“Older drivers were brought up with map-reading so they tend to have that skill. The beauty of a map is that you can see the bigger picture. You can apply the common sense test to your route.”
In the past year 60 per cent of drivers have got lost, according to the 16,850 respondents to the latest AA Populus Panel Poll.