Is Using Sat Nav on Your Phone Legal?

These days, it seems our phones can do everything – even direct us on the roads. But just because they can, does it mean that we should be using a phone as a sat nav system?  While it’s certainly a convenient tool, you need to make sure you’re doing it in a legal and safe manner. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about the laws and implications of using mobile phone sat nav.

mobile phone being used as a sat navigation legally.

Can I use sat nav on my phone?

In short, it is legal to use sat nav on your phone – but only if the following safety rules are followed. 

To use your phone’s sat nav both safely and legally, you will need to ensure: 

  • You have a hands-free setting, bypassing the (illegal) need to hold your phone to navigate.

  • You do not touch the phone at all costs. This includes during driving, when stopped at a traffic light, or when you are responsible for supervising a learner driver. So, make sure the route is set up before embarking on your journey, or if you really have to adjust the route mid-journey, you must pull over and stop the vehicle to do so.

  • The phone is held securely in position, in some type of holder, mount, or other secure place, to reduce the chances of it falling or slipping out mid-journey.

  • The phone does not obscure your view of the road in any way. Unfortunately, there are no exact rules on how or where a sat nav should be mounted. It is recommended that it’s secured very low down on the windscreen, down by your side, or mounted onto the dashboard. Essentially, just ensure that you have a full view of the road, and that it’s mounted in a place that will not distract you.

  • When you are travelling an easy route that does not require sat nav, remove the phone from its mount and put it away. 

Can I be prosecuted for using a phone sat nav?

If you flout these rules, either knowingly or unknowingly, you can face points on your licence and a fine of up to £200. 

Be aware, that even if you follow the rules above, you can still be prosecuted if the traffic police deem you to be overly distracted by your phone or sat-nav during the journey, or to the point where you are not in full control of your vehicle. To minimise the chance of distraction and to ensure your eyes stay on the road, always set the route up beforehand, place the sat nav in an out-of-the-way location, and ensure that you enable a speaking voice to give you vocal directions.

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