Badly placed sat nav a ‘lethal danger’ – here’s where you should fit it

Badly placed sat nav a ‘lethal danger’ – here’s where you should fit it
Badly placed sat nav a ‘lethal danger’ – here’s where you should fit it

Safety experts have warned that mounting a sat nav system in the wrong place poses a serious safety risk as well as leaving drivers vulnerable to a fine and penalty points.

Post-Christmas when some motorists may have received new sat nav units Gem Motoring Assist has warned that mounting the screens in the wrong place could lead to a “lethal reduction” in visibility.

Gem’s road safety officer Neil Worth warns that, especially on left-hand corners, at junctions and anywhere that cars share the road with cyclists and pedestrians, mounting a navigation unit in the centre of the windscreen creates a dangerous obstruction.

‘Considerable risk’

He cautions: “A typical large screen sat nav device measuring nearly seven inches wide by four inches 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 small screen device may seem to be only a minor obstruction from inside the car. However, it has the potential to hide a much larger area outside the car. [It] will block most of your nearside view, and will mean you miss all the hazards that might be there.”

sat nav placement
The law doesn’t specifically state where to place your sat nav but it must not obstruct your view of the road ahead. Picture: Shutterstock

He advises that the bottom right corner of your windscreen is the safest place to fit any sat nav.

The law

There is no law specifically relating to the placement of sat navs or mobile phone mounts but the Highway Code states: “windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision” and the Road Traffic act makes it clear that drivers must have a full view of the road and traffic ahead.

The Government has also issued advice which details how much of different areas of the windscreen can be obscured before it is deemed illegal.

sat nav placement
Department for Transport advice is that nothing should intrude more than 1cm into the red area (a 29cm wide strip, centred on the steering wheel) or more than 4cm into the pink area (the rest of the area swept by the windscreen wipers. Picture: Thinkware

So failing to keep your windscreen clear of obstructions can also land you with a fine and penalty points on your licence.

To stay on the right side of the law and avoid dangerous blind spots Gem Motoring Assist offers the following advice:

  • 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 sat nav.
  • Avoid fitting the sat nav to a location that could cause injury to a driver or passenger in a crash. This includes potential head strike zones on the windscreen.
  • Never fit the sat nav 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.

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