Leave room for a view

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide -

SE­NIOR Con­sta­ble Mark Wood is wor­ried. He has been in touch to let me know far too many cars have ob­scured wind­screens.

And he is not talk­ing about fluffy dice.

Plenty of peo­ple still hang trash and trin­kets from the rear-view mir­ror, but what wor­ries him more is the grow­ing num­ber of sat­navs af­fixed to the cen­tre of the view­ing area in the mid­dle of the wind­screen.

He has a good point. Sat­nav is a won­der­ful thing, as you can see from the num­ber of cars now us­ing it, but it has its draw­backs.

It can be a dis­trac­tion if you start fid­dling with it when you should be con­cen­trat­ing on the road. And a sat­nav unit fit­ted in such a way as to block your view is even worse.

Car­mak­ers know the haz­ards. That is why they al­most al­ways fit units to the cen­tre of the dash, well away from your line of sight through the wind­screen. Even pop-up units such as the one in the Volvo V70 are po­si­tioned to avoid ob­scur­ing your vi­sion.

The VicRoads web­site has guide­lines for po­si­tion­ing sat­navs, but the best way is to po­si­tion the unit as low as pos­si­ble off to the driver’s side. If it ob­scures your view, it’s in the wrong place.

Though I’m in favour of safer driv­ing, I am hooked on the new gen­er­a­tion of sat­nav units. A big test is planned soon and an early favourite is the Nav­man S-Se­ries Platinum — which, its maker prom­ises, will set a new stan­dard. It is bet­ter-looking and we re­ally like its menu sys­tem, which uses Go for reg­u­lar nav­i­ga­tion, Find for search for a spe­cific place or busi­ness, and Ex­plore to search an area in greater de­tail. The spo­ken in­struc­tions are more in­for­ma­tive than those on other units, and it has 3D lane-guid­ance.

The S-Se­ries mod­els are not cheap, but if they de­liver as promised, a Nav­man from $429 to $699 — safely mounted and not ob­scur­ing your vi­sion— could be a smart buy.

Cam­era ob­scura: sat­nav’s not go­ing to help you drive if you can’t see through the wind­screen.

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