Using a phone, sat nav, or other devices when driving

If you’ve been considering enrolling in a driving school or studying for your driving test, you might wonder if using a phone, sat nav, or other devices when driving is legal. Maybe you receive an important phone call. Perhaps you got lost on the way to your destination and want to check the satellite navigation for just a moment to see your course. The short answer to any and all of these scenarios is a simple “no”. Getting distracted even for a fraction of a second is enough to put your life and the life of others in danger. If you want to pass your driving test, even taking automatic driving lessons, never use any device while driving.

Why do people use devices while driving?

There are many reasons for this. Many millennials and younger generations have become quite dependent on social media. Others like to use navigation applications to guide them as they drive. While navigation apps are undoubtedly helpful, you must ensure they do not distract you while driving.

For this reason, the experts at advise making use of phone holders and Bluetooth earphones. Many professional drivers, such as movers and truck drivers, use hands-free devices while they drive. They allow you to use your phone or navigation without holding it. This will keep your hands free so that you can control the steering wheel firmly. Holding and using a phone, sat nav or other devices when driving is a sure way to get a fine. Therefore, be very mindful.

What is legal and what is not?

The rules and regulations regarding driving while using electronic devices are pretty extensive. Let’s briefly summarise what you can and can’t do while driving.

When is it illegal to use electronic devices while driving?

The law states that holding or using a phone, sat nav, or other devices that send or receive data when driving is illegal. The rule applies regardless of whether your car or motorcycle is moving or stationary. In other words, even though you are waiting for a green light, you are not allowed to hold and use any device in your hand.

The law also applies if you supervise a learner driver, even though you are in the passenger’s seat. Holding the device in flight or offline mode also counts as if you are using it and is, therefore, illegal. In general, holding any device in your hand while participating in traffic is considered illegal and should be avoided.

When is it legal to use electronic devices while driving?

Using your phone is legal in cases of emergency where you are unable to stop the vehicle. In such scenarios, you can call 999 or 112. In addition, with contactless payment becoming more popular, you can make such purchases while in a stationary vehicle. This makes drive-through food runs much more convenient and reduces traffic bottlenecks around the restaurants. However, the services or the food collection must be ready for immediate collection. For example, you can’t order food while waiting for the green light. Reach the drive-through restaurant and then make the purchase.

In addition, safely parking the vehicle lets you use electronic devices without any issues. If you really need to make that call or check your location, stop the car and then pull out your phone. If you don’t have anywhere to park, look for a legal spot you can stop without obstructing the traffic. Just make sure to turn on the parking lights and avoid staying there for long. Otherwise, any kind of distraction while driving can have the police to stop you and give you a fine.

Finally, using hands-free devices is legal as long as you’ve fully set them up before driving. On a side note, if you are using a car phone holder, make sure it is not blocking your view of the road. The police can still stop you and give you a fine if they think you are being distracted by your hands-free device. Therefore, always ensure you are entirely focused on the road when driving.

The usefulness of navigation systems

Many new drivers who just got out of driving schools like to use navigation devices to learn their way around the city. GPS navigation devices are great for this because they are legal, and you can mount them in your car. As a new driver, you are bound to be scared while on the road for a while until you get used to driving. A navigation system guiding you while driving will help relieve some stress. Just make sure to use it according to the rules and regulations.

How big are the fines?

Using a phone, sat nav, or other devices when driving can get you a fine of about £200. In addition, following the CU80 endorsement code, you can get six penalty points for your driving license. This is detrimental to new drivers because they can get a maximum of 6 points. After that, their license will be revoked.

In other words, you can have your license instantly revoked for using your phone while driving. Therefore, if you’ve passed your driving test in the past two years, be very careful how you use your phone. You can use your phone as a navigation device only if you use it hands-free. Set your destination before you start driving and use the voice command option.

Final thoughts

To summarize, using a phone, sat nav, or other devices when driving is strictly prohibited. The fines start from £200 and higher. Therefore, put your phone away when driving and focus on the road. This is especially the case for new and old drivers returning to driving after a while. Navigation apps and devices are extremely helpful, but you must use them according to the law. Get a car phone holder or a GPS device for your car and enjoy the benefits. Just make sure they do not obscure your view of the road. Drive safe!

Posted on Dec 1, 2022 by Sam

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Using a phone, sat nav, or other devices when driving