Using a sat nav while driving

Using a sat nav while driving is an everyday occurrence for people all over the world, but do you know what the law says about it? In this blog post, we’re going to clue you up to the legalities of using those helpful navigation devices when you’re driving. 

Using a sat nav while driving

Obviously, it’s perfectly legal to use a sat nav while travelling. However, there are some basic sat nav safety obligations that you have to obey. 

  1. The device can’t block your view of the road or the traffic ahead
  2. You can’t hold the device while you’re driving 
  3. You can’t hold the device while you’re stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic, or if you’re supervising a learner driver

To have your sat nav, or to use a phone with sat nav built in, you need to make sure you programme it to your route before you begin your journey, or while you’re safely parked. 

The sat nav should be securely fastened where it won’t be a distraction. Lots of vehicles have them built in, or you can secure them using a windscreen mount or a dashboard holder. 

You must remain in control of the vehicle at all times, if the police suspect you’re distracted, you can be pulled over and prosecuted. 

It’s illegal to hold a sat nav or a phone while you’re driving. If you need to change your route while you're driving, ask a passenger or use a Bluetooth headset or voice commands.

Check out these strange driving laws you might break every day.

using a satnav while driving

Penalties for incorrectly using a sat nav while driving 

If you’ve misused your sat nav while behind the wheel, you can face some nasty penalties. If you don’t have a clear view of traffic and the road and you’re not in proper control of the vehicle, you can get three penalty points. 

If you use a hand-held phone for your sat nav while driving, you could be facing 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. If you passed your test in the last 2 years and are caught with a hand-held phone, you’ll lose your licence completely. 

In the most extreme cases, you can even be taken to court, banned from driving and charged up to £1,000. The fine can go up to £2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or a bus.

Stay safe

When you head out on your next trip, make sure you're safe. Use your sat nav with care and make sure your attention is always on the road. 

Some of our hire cars come with built in sat nav devices to make it really easy for you to get around. Take a look at our hire cars and book yours today.

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