Just under one in ten drivers who use satellite navigation say the devices have nearly caused them to have an accident.
A poll by road safety charity Brake and insurers Direct Line found 7% of SatNav users had a near miss because the devices distracted them.
As many as 15% admitted making illegal or risky manoeuvres to correct mistakes when following instructions, according to a survey.
Based on responses by 1,000 drivers, the survey also showed that 7% had had a near miss after taking their eyes off the road to adjust their in-car entertainment system.
Direct Line's head of motor insurance, Rob Miles, said looking at the SatNav while driving was "no different from trying to drive with a map in front of you" and should be avoided.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: