When it comes to using sat navs and phones for directions in cars, there are a few question marks over the law.

A spokesman for the RAC, Simon Williams, said: “There does appear to be real confusion among drivers regarding both mobile phones as sat navs and where to put them.”

And with the Highway Code indicating that drivers should keep their windscreens clear, it begs the question: where are you supposed to place it?

Here’s everything you need to know about sav nav laws in the UK and everything in between.

The current UK sat nav laws

While the laws surrounding sat nav positioning remain fuzzy, using a mobile phone as an alternative is relatively clear.

As mentioned in our previous post, if you touch your phone while moving, you could receive a £200 fine and six penalty points on your license. So if you need to change the route, make sure you pull over and turn off the energy before doing so.

The current law surrounding sat navs is slightly different and less transparent. The vehicle installation warnings advise that your sat nav shouldn’t:

  • Interfere with vehicle operating controls or obstruct a driver’s view of the road.
  • Be placed in front of or above any airbag.
  • Be positioned where it could distract a driver if it falls down from the windscreen.

Before using it, you should always check local laws to see if there are any specific ones in place.

Top tips on how to mount your sat nav on your windscreen

Using the general consensus, here are a few tips on where the safest place is to position your sat nav or phone in your car.

  • Before choosing where to put your sat nav, make sure your seat is at the right height and position to suit your body shape. If you don’t do this, you could get the sat nav positioning wrong.
  • Try to mount your sat nav low down on your windscreen to the far right to maximise your view of the road. If this isn’t possible, opt for the lowest point in the middle of the windscreen.
  • Avoid placing the sat nav or mobile up high, as the cables can interfere with your vehicle controls.
  • If you’re using your mobile phones as a sat nav, a car vent holder is great if you want to keep your windscreen clear.

Where do you place your sat nav or phone device in your car? We’re interested to hear your opinion on the matter, so let us know by leaving us a comment below.

Fancy some extra reading? See how many motoring laws you remember in our previous post: ‘7 obscure driving laws you might be unaware of’.



  1. I had my sat-nav holder mounted in the lower far right of my windscreen right in the corner as suggested in the article. I took it for the MOT and it was removed and I got an advisory. It’s now as low down as i can get it in the centre of the screen., but some seem to suggest this is wrong as well. The manufacturer’s booklet states it should be mounted on the windscreen, indeed the suction cup will not mount to anything other than glass. Very confusing!!!

  2. I found also that the very top right side of the windscreen is best for my smartphone as a GPS satnav. It is not creating a blind spot for any traffic as what traffic do you see through the very top of your windscreen? It is in the position that the sun visor would be. The cable goes down the a pillar,is jammed in the tiny gap above the steering wheel and trails down into the 12v charger point.Also it is immediately at hand when I do need it, although your not allowed to adjust it whilst driving.

  3. I may be wrong,but dash cams are suposed to be placed in a position where it,s screen cannot be visible to the driver. My dash cam is placed top centre screen behind my driving mirror. Having said that my dash cam blanks itself within seconds of powering up.

  4. I have a non-slip heavy mat with inbuilt holder for my Garmin – sits on top middle of dash & doesn’t interfere with view through windscreen. You can get them online – Amazon. I also have a swivel magnetic mount for my IPhone which sticks to the sides of the inbuilt Pioneer media / radio.

  5. I actually found the most convenient place was at the top right corner of the windscreen. It’s high enough that it doesn’t obscure the road and my cables are long enough that they can be tucked into the pillar and not get in the way of anything. This was back when I had a Tomtom years ago.

    Now I use my phone, I keep it down by the speedo, if I lower the height of my steering wheel to make a gap, put the phone in then raise it up to pinch the phone in place. It helps that my phone is in a chunky rubberised Otterbox case and grips in firmly. It doesn’t obscure the view of any clocks or warning lights this way either in my Pugeot 406 and Mitsubishi Outlander.

  6. I actually found the most convenient place was at the top right corner of the windscreen. It’s high enough that it doesn’t obscure the road and my cables are long enough that they can be tucked into the pillar and not get in the way of anything.

  7. My sat nav is lower right of windscreen and mobile phone on magnetic holder in cd slot on dashboard

  8. Construction and Use regulations in the UK say that nothing over a certain size should obscure that area of the windscreen swept by the wipers. That size varies according to whether it is a certain distance from the centre of the steering wheel or outside of that distance – however a SatNav exceeds both cases.

  9. I follow the American pattern, where it is illegal to mount a sat-nav on the windscreen. I use a holder with a non-slip base which sits on top of the dashboard, which means that the sat-nav is low enough in most cars not to obscure the screen at all. I was a little dubious initially as to whether it would move about, but in seven years have never had it move. Such mounts are readily available through many stockists, although they are not often advertised (mine came from Amazon)

  10. Simple solution, get all manufacturers to fit them as standard in the whole model range along with Bluetooth into the radio

  11. A satnav or phone should not be mounted where it obscures any part of the windcreen. If you cannot attach it to the dash in such a way to achieve that, about the worst place to mount it is in the middle of the screen where it will interfere with the view forward and to the left, i.e. pedestrians, emerging vehicles and more.

  12. My Sat Nav sits on the dashboard and is visible through the upper half of the steering wheel.

  13. It is hard to imagine why there would be a bye law relating to this subject. If such a bye law was in place here and there would every driver need to check for ones on their intended route from A to B ?
    You shouldn’t be driving your vehicle if the seat height and/or angle are wrong so this advice really apertains to when you take over driving a different vehicle to your usual one/s.
    A windscreen has only one middle and that is its centre. The location being suggested I believe is as low down on the vertical centre line as is possible
    It may be worth noting that the screen mounting for a Satnav often can be fitted with the Satnav release mechanism at the top rather than bottom meaning the device can be fitted lower down without making release difficult or impossible

  14. I have a mount that fits in the CD slot that will carry a mobile and also a tom tom or similar sat nav.

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