The Best Place to Put a GPS in a Car

by Ma Wen Jie
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Kelli Warshefski/Demand Media

Proper placement of your GPS unit in your car is critical to the functionality of the GPS system and for driving safety. Several states have statutes against driving while distracted, and where you place your GPS for ease of access can have an effect on whether you are in compliance with those laws.

GPS Reception

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The days of automotive GPS units that required external antennas are mostly in the past. Most current GPS units are self-contained, with maps stored internally and satellite reception antennas stored inside the unit itself. GPS units require line of sight to acquire the satellites are used for position triangulation. With that in mind, placing the GPS unit on the dashboard, low on the windshield, or in a mount that raises the unit high enough to have an unobstructed view of the windshield will help with GPS reliability.

Visibility Considerations

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Keeping your eyes on the road is essential to automotive safety. Using a windshield mount that keeps your GPS unit visible--but just below your line of sight for driving--is a good idea. Dashboard mounts also allow you to keep your eye on the road while being able to quickly glance at the GPS unit for reference. Some GPS units can be mounted in a similar visual position as your car radio, and also tend to work well, but require a longer time with the eyes not being focused on the road.

Operational Considerations

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Ideally, a destination is set on the GPS before the vehicle starts moving. In some cases, however, adjustments to the GPS will need to be made while driving. In these situations, make sure that the GPS is mounted within easy right-hand access range and in a place where the road is still visible. Making changes to a GPS while driving takes more attention away from the road than simply referring to the unit for turn-by-turn directions.

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