Motorists look at GPS systems for 'dangerous amounts of time'

Australian motorists are looking at their in-vehicle satellite navigation systems for dangerous lengths of time, new research has found.

A study by car insurance firm SGIO discovered that when drivers used the portable GPS unit over a 35km route they glanced at it around 90 times for 1.2 seconds on average.

"So when travelling at 60 km/h they were looking away from the road for up to 19 metres at a time – or more than four car lengths," said SGIO's senior research manager Robert McDonald.

The findings may interest Aussies looking to compare car insurance, particularly as a history of past accidents and claims is likely to impact on premiums.

According to SGIO, the most unsafe position for a portable GPS unit is in the centre of the windscreen under the rear-view mirror or directly in front of the driver, as such locations can block the field of view.

It found that the safest position is in the right front lower corner of the windscreen.

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