DO YOU use your phone as a sat nav? Here are the rules you need to know. 

Gone are the days of buying an old bulky satellite navigation device and downloading Britain's maps onto them. 

Sat nav apps on our phones are free to use and respond in real-time to traffic and roadworks, making sure we get to our destination in the fastest and safest way. 

Here are the rules you need to know about: 

What are the penalties for using your phone?

You can get six penalty points on your license and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone when driving.

Bournemouth Echo:

While you're allowed to use your phone as a sat nav you must never interact with the device whilst driving or you risk having your license removed (stock). 

Drivers who have only passed their test in the last two years will lose their license if they use their phone behind the wheel. 

You can get three penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

Can you use your mobile phone as a sat-nav?

Yes, you can use your phone as a sat nav as long as you follow some simple rules. 

A driver should never touch their device whilst driving, this means no flicking through your playlist or answering calls - you must have hands-free access. 

The same applies for using your phone as a sat nav.

Hands-free access includes: 

- a bluetooth headset

- voice command

- a built-in sat nav

Can you stick mobile devices and sat navs to your windscreen?

The DVLA specifies that mobile phones and sat navs should be secured in a dashboard holder or mat or a windscreen mount. 

However the position of your phone could also land you in trouble. 

The holder must be out of the 45-degree angle of the driver's view as not to obstruct the drivers view. 

Invest in a holder or cradle to ensure you are not handling your phone whilst driving - holders that slip into the air vent are available. 

How can I use my phone as a sat nav?

When using your phone as a sat nav in the car it's vital that you have pre-programmed your route before setting off. 

Handling your device will land you in hot water and you risk an immediate fine of £200 and six points on your license. 

If you need to reprogramme your route then you must pull over somewhere safe to do so. 

Using a sat-nav is not currently against the law, however the police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.

When does the law apply?

It is illegal to handle your mobile phone whilst driving at all times, the law still applies if you are: 

  • stopped at traffic lights
  • queuing in traffic
  • supervising a learner driver
  • At a drive-thru, you cannot use your phone to pay as you are still driving. 

When can you use a hand-held phone?

There are very few times you are ever allowed to use your phone at the wheel, but it's important you know when they are.

You can use a hand-held phone if either of these apply:

- you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop

- you're safely parked