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Sat navs have become essential for most drivers, whether to use for finding your way around the city or for summer trips exploring the coast. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion amongst drivers about where they should legally be placed in their cars.

The windscreen is the usual spot for most drivers to put their sat navs on, but according to the Highway Code, windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision.

So, is it illegal to place your sat nav on your widescreen? While it is not technically illegal, the answer depends on the where it’s located. Having a satellite navigation system in the wrong place of your widescreen could be an obstruction to your vision and can land you a fine.

Where should I place my sat nav?

The best thing to keep in mind when positioning your sat nav is to keep your windscreen and your direct line of sight completely clear. Here are some appropriate positions:

  • Dashboard – with the correct device holder you can mount your sat nav on the dashboard away from your windscreen.
  • Low down – you can place your sat nav at the very bottom of the window – that way, most of the windscreen stays clear.
  • Low bottom left or right – for many drivers, the bottom right of the windscreen is ideal but you need to keep the cables in mind to ensure they don’t get tangled.

Please make sure you are parked before repositioning your sat nav.

Can I use my phone for directions?

You can use a phone for directions only if you have hands-free access. Just like a sat nav, your mobile phone should not block your view of the road. If you are using your mobile phone as a sat nav, the same position rules apply as above.

Also, mobile phones include a lot of cables that can interfere with your vehicle controls, so you should avoid placing your phone up high. Instead, mount your phone on the dashboard or use the car vent holder to keep your dashboard and windscreen clear.

Lastly, no more than two devices should be mounted on the dashboard or windscreen. The devices should be at least 150mm apart.

Remember it’s illegal to hold a phone or a sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. You can only use a hand-held phone or sat nav if you are safely parked.

Read our blog on what to do after a car accident or contact us for more information and help in all areas of accident claims including road traffic accidents.