Modern life has plenty of technical user aids to make things simpler or more enjoyable. 

Unfortunately, for the driver, many of these items become attached to the inside of the windscreen.

Somewhat unconsciously, motorists are drawn to the tech and become blind to the basics.

Seeing the road ahead

If you’re going to drive and drive safely, you need to be able to see clearly out of the windscreen.

Drivers are being warned about the dangers of items obscuring the view out of the windscreen.

Air fresheners, phone holders, sat navs can prove very unhelpful, land you with a fine, and cause a crash.

Absolute Reg names five items too commonly blocking a driver’s line of sight and impacting their view of the road ahead.

Driver responsibility

The Highway Code states drivers must have a complete and clear view of the road and traffic ahead whilst travelling.

Drivers with an obstructed view could face penalty points, hefty fines, and even driving bans if the incident leads to dangerous situations.

It is easier to see the benefits of a new piece of kit than to understand the consequences of misplacing them on the windscreen.

While they can aid you as a driver or make your cabin space a more pleasant place to be, they can also distract your attention and directly inhibit your vision.

Out of the window

First and foremost, don’t attach them to the front or rear windows.

When it comes to dashcams, sat navs and phone holders, they must be placed away from the line of vision so drivers can see the road ahead clearly. It is essential for basic road safety.

Dangling air fresheners, beads, trinkets, etc, from the rearview mirror can obscure and distract vision. 

Windscreen cracks and chips can also restrict the driver’s vision, so it is important to get any damage fixed as soon as possible.

 “Many of us drivers are not aware that anything on our windscreen could be putting us, and other road users, in danger,” says Jake Smith, director at Absolute Reg.

“But anything that is obstructing the view of the road ahead is deemed illegal and against the Highway Code.

“Even small chips to the windscreen could impact your view of the traffic ahead. Get any damage seen to immediately to avoid being penalised or causing an accident.”


Items to remove

1. Dashcams

Placing dashcams directly into the line of sight onto the windscreen may seem ideal, but the best place to fit a dashcam is at the top of the windscreen next to the rearview mirror, with any wires tucked away. It will ensure a clear line of vision of the road ahead.

2. Air freshener

Although it’s not illegal to hang air fresheners over the rearview mirror, if they’re big enough to obstruct the view ahead, then drivers risk breaking the law. Hanging air fresheners in the interior of the car should be away from the windscreen and instead placed elsewhere, such as on the back of a seat.

3. Windscreen cracks

Small chips to the windscreen may not seem like a huge problem, but in fact, the damage could impact the driving view. It’s essential to fix any cracks immediately, especially if they’re in the direct line of vision.

4. Stickers

Any stickers placed on the front or rear windscreen could be blocking vision for drivers causing them to have an obstructed view. When placing stickers on the car, motorists must ensure that it doesn’t impact their ability to see clearly out of the front and back.

5. Phone holder

Following updates to the law two years ago, it is now illegal to touch or hold a mobile phone, and drivers should instead use the handsfree option. However, if placing the device in a phone holder, motorists must ensure that it doesn’t obstruct the view of the road ahead.

The law

In practice, the annual MoT test will check the view out of the windscreen. Items placed in or stuck to the windscreen, surface damage, cracks, or discolouration in the windscreen must not seriously obscure the driver’s vision. 

The official regulation guidance can be found here.