Poorly positioned sat navs causing unnecessary danger, motorists warned

Motorists have been warned to think carefully about where they place their satellite navigation systems to avoid dangerously obstructing their view.

Breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says large screen devices positioned in the centre of the windscreen can block cyclists and pedestrians from view, particularly when turning left and at junctions.

The Department for Transport has issued advice that nothing should intrude more than one centimetre into a 29cm-wide strip of the windscreen ahead of the steering wheel. Furthermore, nothing can obstruct more than four centimetre into the area that is swept by the windscreen.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “Sat nav devices are great for reducing a lot of motoring stress and showing you the way on unfamiliar journeys. But if in the process you’re obscuring a large part of your field of view, then you are taking a risk as well as breaking the law.

“A typical large screen sat nav device measuring nearly seven inches (17cm) wide by four inches (10.48cm) high has the potential to cause significant restrictions to 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.”

It is recommended that sat nav devices are placed low and to the right of the wheel to minimise the obstructed view. If it will only fit in the centre, it should be positioned as low as possible. Meanwhile, drivers should avoid placing it directly ahead of passengers, as this can cause serious injury in the event of a crash.