Why Wrongly Installed Sat Nav Could Land £1,000 Fine

Mon 6th Jan 2020

A major road safety organisation has issued a new set of guidelines after poorly placed satellite navigation systems were flagged as being potentially dangerous.

GEM Motoring Assist has warned that drivers who install a sat nav system in the centre of a windscreen could potentially land themselves a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on their licence. The Highway Code states that ‘windscreens and windows must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision’. While some police forces have wrongly suggested that it is only legal to place a sat nav on the bottom right of a windscreen, GEM advise that insurance claims could be invalidated if it can be proven that visibility has been compromised.

“Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said: “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 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, depending on where you sit and the distance you are from it.

“Placing a sat nav 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.”

GEM has some simple tips to ensure your view of the road is not obstructed by a poorly-positioned satnav:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • You must be in proper control of your vehicle at all times, so make sure you programme your satnav before setting off.

  • If you find you need to make changes to your route, find somewhere safe to pull over and stop. Never re-programme the satnav while you are driving.

  • Make the most of the satnav’s spoken instructions, particularly in complex urban settings. It is simply not safe to have to look at the satnav screen while trying to get through an unfamiliar town with lots of junctions.

  • At the end of a journey, protect your property by always taking the satnav with you. Thieves may spot the rubber sucker marks or the plastic mount on the windscreen and may assume you’ve concealed a device in the car somewhere.