If a driver wants the best view of his portable navigation system, it stands to reason that he should probably stick it on the windshield directly in front of his head. That's a no-brainer, which, in this case, actually means that the driver has no brains. As crazy as it seems, we've actually seen this more than once, people driving around with their Garmins mounted right there in the middle of their field of view, clearly obstructing them from seeing the road, or at the very least providing a serious distraction.
Which got us to thinking: Where is the best place for your nav system?
We know it's not right in front of the driver, which is actually against the law in Minnesota and California. So we talked to some GPS product experts, who agreed that while mounting a portable nav screen on the windshield is okay, it should be suction-cupped to the lower part of the glass.
According to Tom Murray, senior vice president of marketing for GPS-maker TomTom, more than half ("We found 57 percent," he said) of drivers surveyed still use the windshield as a resting place for the units. "Many put it in the lower middle, which is recommended," he said.
Aaron Roth, vice president of sales for Arkon Resources, said, "The vast majority of drivers continue to use the windshield, but we've got two versions for the dash. One adheres, the other is a non-skid 'friction' mount."
Arkon, based in Arcadia, California, calls itself "the mobile mounting specialists," and indeed its catalog is a delight if you've got a GPS or smart phone that needs a home inside the vehicles. There are windshield mounts and dashboard mounts, air vent mounts and sun-visor mounts, 12-volt socket mounts and cup holder mounts... well, we could go on and on.
California actually had a law that prohibited windshield mounting of GPS devices -- and carried a fine of $108 – until it was repealed last year. A new law that replaced it does stipulate that the device must be mounted within "a 7-inch square area in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver (the passenger side) or in a 5-inch square area in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver (the lower left corner of the windshield)."