The study will include drivers carrying out computer-based tasks that mimic the demands imposed by a typical in-car navigation system.
One of the researchers, Dr Pragya Agarwal of Lancaster University, said: "There is little research on the impacts of sat navs on spatial attention and memory while undertaking a complex task such as driving.
"Although sat nav makers have claimed that such technology aids driving, we are interested in finding out accurate measurements for how much driving performance and memory of routes worsens while using a sat nav.
"Can drivers remember the routes they have taken using sat navs? Do they get distracted and stressed? Are they more likely to make errors?
"Currently, most sat navs give route information in form of visual displays and audio instructions. We want to also examine whether this is the best – and safest – way to give such information to drivers."
The researchers will assess the types of information drivers receive and the responses they must make while using navigation systems.