How to find the safest spot for your sat-nav

The position of your sat-nav can have an impact on your safety while driving

Lots of us tend to look at sat-navs as modern-day saviours – especially the more geographically challenged among us.

In fact, many motorists have now got so used to the idea of these handy gadgets that they no longer keep a map in their car, as was once common.

But a breakdown organisation is warning that sat-navs could make motoring more difficult unless we position them correctly on our windscreens.

GEM Motoring Assist goes so far as to say that many of us are putting ourselves in danger by letting the devices obscure our vision.

Potentially deadly?
According to GEM, sat-navs can be dangerous.

OK, so your average big-screen sat-nav may only measure 10.48cm high by 17cm wide, but GEM says this is enough to drastically reduce visibility and potentially cause a crash.

That’s because it obscures a far bigger area on the road than inside your car, according to the motoring assistance firm.

But a lot depends on where you place your device and how far away you position yourself from it.

Biggest hazards
Badly positioned sat-navs are at their most dangerous while driving in the following places, says GEM:

  • Junctions
  • Crossings
  • Left-hand bends
  • Anywhere where we may share roads with pedestrians and cyclists

Mid-screen madness
You put yourself most at risk if you place your gadget in the middle of your windscreen, says GEM. This will impede the majority of your view on the nearside, it points out.

Safest position
GEM has compiled the following top six tips to help you perfectly position your sat-nav:

  • Experiment with placing your gadget before you start your journey until you have the maximum visibility possible
  • Fitting a sat-nav high up on your windscreen is a real no-no. It can not only restrict your sun visor and rear-view mirror, it will badly impair your forward vision. Also, do you really want power cords trailing across your sightline? There’s enough to concentrate on as it is
  • Place it on the lowest possible position on your screen as well as to the extreme right
  • Decide on the correct seat position and height for your size and shape before you position the sat-nav
  • Keep your sat-nav away from potential crash points on your windscreen. Your head could hit the device or an airbag could strike it

What the expert says
David Williams, chief executive of GEM, says that drivers understandably view sat-navs as a great stress reliever.

But they also have the potential to create stress if poorly positioned devices put owners in “huge” danger by blocking their line of sight ahead.