Whether you have a trusty, old TomTom or you are using apps on your smart phone, many drivers rely on electronic navigation to get from A-to-B.
However, stricter laws which came into effect in March 2017 see some drivers punished for using a Sat Nav or Sat Nav apps unsafely whilst driving. The law makes no distinction between changing the route on a map, answering a call and checking your social media accounts, so don’t be caught out.
Here is a list of Warranty Direct’s top tips for using your satellite navigation tools safely – and legally – on the roads…
It’s legal to use hands-free devices on the road – so mounting your device to your windscreen before you set off is essential. The Highway Code states your windscreen must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision, so don’t place your device directly in your line of sight.
The bottom right corner of the windscreen or near the dashboard air vents are best – mounting it too low will mean that your eyes are off the road for too long, so avoid this.
Dictation is important
Roads can often be congested with complicated layouts needing your full attention. In addition, studies have shown reading information on a Sat Nav could cause a change in scanning behaviour and increase the risk of a hazard being missed.
Make sure your Sat Nav’s voice instructions are turned on and can be heard clearly before starting your journey – this will allow you to listen to instructions rather than taking your eyes off the road for too long.
Don’t adjust and drive
Seven percent of drivers have stated that being distracted by a Sat Nav has nearly caused them to have an accident.
Taking your eyes off the road to adjust your Sat Nav is distracting and can be dangerous. Always pull over in a safe place before changing settings. Doing this on the move will take one hand off the wheel and your eyes and mind from the road.
Seeing is believing
Don’t follow your Sat Nav’s instructions blindly and ignore what you can see in front of you.
If the road looks wrong, don’t take it. Watch for signs – particularly height, weight or width restrictions. If you have a large vehicle or a caravan, you can’t be sure that a road is suitable just because the Sat Nav tells you to go down it.
Watch out for road closures, temporary speed limits and no-entry signs – ignoring these is an offence and could endanger yourself and other road users. If the Sat Nav suggests an unsuitable road, avoid it then pull over in a safe place to find an alternative route.
A study has revealed one in 20 drivers received a speeding fine because their Sat Nav allegedly showed the wrong speed limit.
Roads are often changed, so it’s important to keep your device updated so it doesn’t show you old information.
Most Sat Nav units can be easily updated on your computer to the latest map version, so you can take advantage of any new roads, layouts and speed limits.
Don’t invite thieves
If you leave your Sat Nav on display it will be a potential target for thieves. Hide the unit, power cable and mount out of sight.
Remember to wipe the glass to remove any marks left by the suction cup, as this will be a clue that there is a Sat Nav in the car.