Drivers could be inadvertently risking a collision by not sparing a thought for where they position their aftermarket satellite navigation units on the windscreen.
British breakdown organisation Gem Motoring Assist has pointed out the latest large-screen satnavs positioned in the middle of a car windscreen mean a potentially lethal reduction in driver visibility, especially on left-hand bends and at junctions. The same applies in New Zealand.
David Williams, Gem’s chief executive, said: “Satnav devices are great for relieving a lot of motoring stress. But if in the process you’re obscuring a vast swathe of your field of view, then you are taking a huge risk.”
He says a typical large-screen satnav device measuring nearly 17cm wide by 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.
“Placing a satnav 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.”
How best to mount your satnav in your windscreen:
■ The safest place for a satnav 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 satnav.
■ Avoid fitting the satnav to a location that could cause injury to a driver or passenger in a crash, including locations where a deploying airbag may strike it.
■ Never fit the satnav high up on the windscreen.
As well as severely restricting vision, placing a satnav high on the screen means that power cables could trail across the driver’s field of vision.