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Is your sat nav illegal?

motor1 logo motor1 10/01/2019 Dominik Wilde
a screen shot of a computer: GPS navigation device in travelling car © UK GPS navigation device in travelling car

You could be driving with an illegally-positioned sat-nav which could pose significant threat to road safety, according to breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist.

Worryingly, a number of drivers set the large screen devices up in the middle of their windscreens, severely hampering visibility, particularly on left hand bends and at junctions. the Highway code states that 'windscreens and windows must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision', but that is lost on many.

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a screen shot of a video game: GPS device navigating while driving through dark tunnel © UK GPS device navigating while driving through dark tunnel

"If you have received a satnav for Christmas, then do take a few moments to choose the only safe and legal part of your windscreen to fix it – which is in the bottom right hand corner of your windscreen," said GEM road safety officer Neil Worth. "A typical large screen sat nav device measuring nearly seven inches (17cm) wide by four inches (10.48cm) high has the potential to restrict a driver’s field of view, especially if it’s mounted in the centre of the windscreen below a large rear view mirror."

a close up of a cell phone: Navigation while driving in Cork © UK Navigation while driving in Cork

While sat navs do make driving somewhat easier, they do come with added risk if they're not set up properly.

"A small screen device may seem to be only a minor obstruction from inside the car," said Worth. "However, it has the potential to hide a much larger area outside the car, depending on where you sit and the distance you are from it."

"Placing a satnav right in the centre of the windscreen will block most of your nearside view, and will mean you miss all the hazards that might be there. This is particularly dangerous on left hand bends, at junctions and crossings, and in any locations where you may share the road space with cyclists and pedestrians."

a side view mirror of a car: GPS navigation device car dash © UK GPS navigation device car dash

In order to make sure your sat nav is safely positioned, GEM has come up with the following helpful tips:

Ensure you position your device in the bottom right corner of your windscreen, where any obstruction to your field of view will be minimised.

Make sure you choose the right seat height and position to suit your individual shape and size before positioning your satnav.

Avoid fitting the satnav to a location that could cause injury to a driver or passenger in a crash. This includes potential head strike zones on the windscreen.

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Never fit the satnav high up on the windscreen. As well as severely restricting vision, this could interfere with the rear view mirror and sun visors, and will require power cords to trail across the driver’s field of vision.

GEM also reminds drivers to always take your sat nav with you when you leave your car, remembering to wipe away rubber sucker marks from the windscreen to deter thieves.

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