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Summary
  • Seemingly harmless car accessories can pose a danger in case of a crash or emergency braking situation if they aren’t secured properly.
  • Any accessories that rattle or move around can make you unwittingly fix or move them. You can get distracted in a decisive moment, such as when an animal suddenly crosses the road, and this can get you into an accident.
  • You should never put flashing red or blue lights that might resemble the lights of a police officer or emergency vehicle on your dashboard.
  • Radar detectors and laser jammers are prohibited in several states.

There are many ways to add dashboard accessories that can give your car a bit of personality, more comfort, or improved functionality. From action figures on your dashboard to dice that hang off the rear-view mirror, you can make anything an accessory as long as you can put them on your dashboard. However, you might wonder whether these accessories can pose a danger to you or your passengers, or whether some of them have been outlawed. In this article, we’ll go over the accessories that pose a danger and which are illegal.

What Accessories Can Pose a Danger

Phone mounts, tissue boxes, cute dashboard ornaments, or dashboard-mounted gauges are just some examples of accessories that you can put on your vehicle’s dashboard. These seemingly harmless car accessories can pose a danger in case of a crash or emergency braking situation if they aren’t secured properly.

While the likelihood of these items flying around and harming you during a crash or an emergency braking situation might seem slim, these can still pose a danger because they can be distracting when they move. Any accessories that rattle or move around can make you unwittingly fix or move them. You can get distracted in a decisive moment, such as when an animal suddenly crosses the road, and this can get you into an accident. So if you’re sticking accessories onto your dashboard using automotive adhesive tape, ensure that the object is properly secured before driving. Otherwise, it can detach and cause a distraction.

You might be wondering, “is it illegal to have stuff on your dashboard while driving in some states?” Luckily, there isn’t a law that prohibits accessories. However, some things might get you unwanted attention from the police.

What Accessories Are Illegal?

Is it illegal to have certain things on your dashboard? Yes, here are some of them.

Police Lights

The obvious item that you should never put on your dashboard is flashing red or blue lights that might resemble the lights of a police or emergency vehicle.

It’s illegal to put any accessories in your vehicle that might make it resemble a police or emergency vehicle. Unless you’re a detective rushing to a crime scene, you probably shouldn’t have any red or blue lights on your dashboard.

Radar Detectors and Laser Jammers

Radar detectors are dashboard-mounted devices that alert you when police are pointing a radar gun at you so you can slow down and avoid speeding tickets. These devices are illegal everywhere except in Virginia and Washington D.C.

While most police departments still use radar guns, some have moved on to using Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) devices to try to catch speeders. Lidar uses lasers to more accurately track a vehicle’s speed. Laser jammers send a false signal to confuse the lidar system. They’re illegal in only a handful of states like California, Texas, and Virginia, to name a few.

If you’re caught with these devices, penalties can range between $50 and $1,000 depending on where you live. South Carolina even considers having these devices as a misdemeanor, so make sure to check your state laws before considering these devices.

Generally, there aren’t many dashboard-mounted accessories that are prohibited or dangerous, just make sure they’re mounted properly. You’re generally free to customize or personalize your front dashboard for people to see as long as they don’t include red or blue lights.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Lifestyle
Garage Essentials
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