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Poorly positioned sat navs posing a huge threat to road safety, warns GEM

The organisation said a typical large screen sat nav device “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”.

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE added: “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. This is particularly dangerous on left hand bends, at junctions and crossings, and in any locations where you may share the road space with cyclists and pedestrians.”

In response GEM has assembled some simple tips:

  • Ensure you position your sat nav so that it won’t affect your view of the road and your ability to drive safely.
  • The safest place for a sat nav is low down on your windscreen, and to the far right, to minimise obstruction of your field of view.
  • If this is not possible, then it may be acceptable in the centre of the windscreen, but you should position it as low down as possible.
  • 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, or other locations where deploying an airbag may contact them.
  • 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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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.