Can I legally use my mobile phone as a Sat Nav?

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Smartphone mounted on dashboard showing Sat Nav app

The majority of us own either an Apple iPhone or an Android device, and it is almost guaranteed that it has some of the best satellite navigation apps currently available from the relative app stores.

But you need to be made aware that there are laws surrounding the use of your smartphone for your driving directions, so today we’re going to take a look to see what the legalities are.

Can I use my Smartphone when driving?

By law, all drivers are prohibted from touching their smartphones whilst you are driving. If you are caught operating your device, this will be classed as ‘driving without due care and attention’ and you may receive a fine, if you are caught.

If you need to touch or change something on your smartphone, to adhere to the rules/laws, you must safely stop the vehicle in a suitable place.

Smartphone mounted on dashboard showing Sat Nav app

How can I legally use my Smartphone as a Sat Nav?

If you are not lucky enough to have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in your vehicle, then to ensure that you are legal when using your Smartphone as a Sat Nav, you need to ensure the following:

  • Before you begin driving, ensure that the route is correctly programmed into your device. Check the route for any traffic hold-ups and if you are driving an ELectric Vehicle, make sure you know where you need to top up the battery en-route.
  • If you have voice commands, make sure that this is active on your device. This can either be via ‘Hey Siri’ ‘Hey Google’ or ‘Alexa’ – Make sure that voice prompts are enabled, so that you can hear clear instructions.
  • Make sure that your smartphone is charged or is plugged in to charge, using mapping apps can drain your battery quickly.
  • Make sure that the app you are using is up to date and that you have allowed it access to mobile data.
  • Get a mount for your smartphone device that can fit onto your dashboard or the vehicle windscreen. Make sure it doesn’t get in the way and you can safely view the road.

Where is the best place to mount your Smartphone?

We’d recommend mounting your smartphone to the right of your vision, somewhere you can safely glance.

Some manufacturers make dashboard mounts, these will be positioned in your vehicle so that you can safely view the road whilst not causing any distractions.

What happens if I get caught by the Police using the phone?

Just to reiterate, it is an offence to touch your phone whilst you are driving or if it is mounted on your windscreen or dashboard. It is also an offence if you mount this in a position that can obscure your view or cause a distraction.

What fine will I get for using my phone whilst driving?

If you have been caught, you should expect to receive upto 6 penalty points on your driving licence as well as a fine of £200. If you have passed your driving test less than 2 years ago, you could expect to lose your licence, this could also result in a ban and a fine of up to £1,000.

What are the best smartphone mounts?

Here is a selection of some of the latest smartphone windscreen and dashboard mounts available on Amazon Affiliates:

Patty Atindehou

Patty is the content writer for and loves her cars and the automotive industry in general. She worked for large dealer groups in the United Kingdom and the USA specialising in high-end and premium vehicles. Her goal is to provide the most interesting information on the vehicle subscription industry.

Article Details

Post Published: March 13, 2023
Post Last Updated: November 15, 2023
Article Categories: , ,
Read Time: 3 minute(s)