In the UK, there are more than 32 million people with a driving license* and it seems that many of them are taking to the roads and committing offences without even realising it.
With many Brits wrongly dismissing some rules of the road to be myths and legends, drivers could find themselves in hot water, facing a fine, licence points, driving disqualification or in worst case scenarios, a prison sentence.
Redex, the UK’s number one fuel additive, has uncovered 10 UK driving laws motorists may not know about, and could be breaking while out on the roads.
10 LAWS MOTORISTS COULD BE BREAKING:
When driving with pets it is important they are kept suitably restrained so they cannot distract the driver or injure passengers, or themselves, if the vehicle has to suddenly stop quickly. If a motorist is pulled over with an unruly pet in the vehicle, they could be in the dog house - facing a fine for driving without due care and attention.
Flip flop fail
At the first sign of sunshine Brits everywhere swap their jumpers and boots for flip flops and shorts. But while summer wardrobes may look great they could be putting motorists at risk. Whilst it’s not ‘illegal’ to be driving in flip flops specifically, there is a catch. If a motorist is driving whilst wearing unsuitable footwear then this is considered to be putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk, which faces penalty points or a fine as a result. Other footwear that may be considered inappropriate includes Ugg boots and wellington boots, as they don’t offer suitable grip and are renowned for slipping off the pedals.
Fans of ‘Carpool Karaoke’ may need to tone down their inner James Corden, because while fist pumping and reaching those high notes may seem innocent enough, distractions such as loud music can result in a fine or penalty points as it can be classed as driving without due care and attention.
Motorists everywhere have been at the mercy of backstreet drivers; suggesting different routes, commenting on driving skills and offering unwelcome hints and tips. But drivers should try and ignore being wound up by their passengers, because if pulled over by the police for arguing, it could result in penalty points or a fine as it is considered a distraction from the road.
If a motorhome is parked and the driver is consuming alcohol inside, even if they have no intention of driving, they are committing an offence as they are considered to be in charge of the vehicle. Even setting up camp for the night to watch the sunset can have serious consequences, from a fine to driving disqualification. It also means if motorists wish to ‘sleep off’ a few drinks inside their vehicle, they are also committing an offence.
While it may sound medieval, if a person is suffering from a notifiable disease, it is down to the discretion of a taxi driver as to whether they wish to transport them - and this could be something as simple as food poisoning. If a passenger withholds this information, they are committing an offence, so should think twice before jumping in a cab and spilling all.
For many, fast food has become even faster with the introduction of contactless payment. But if motorists pay using their phone at a drive-thru, they’re automatically breaking the law by using a handheld device behind the wheel, as the law still applies when vehicles are stopped at lights or in a traffic queue - and that includes waiting for your burger and fries. If the engine is running, a driver’s phone should be nowhere near their hands, and this is still the case if the engine stops automatically to save fuel.
Making a splash
Splashing pedestrians is deemed to be driving “without reasonable consideration for other persons” under the Road Traffic Act 1998 and offenders could be hit by a £100 fixed penalty notice and three points if they’re caught by the police. Be extra vigilant when nearing puddles, or driving in treacherous conditions.
Although many Brits may have been brought up to believe having interior lights on at night is illegal, it turns out this small white lie is not too far from the truth. While there is no direct law against driving with interior lights on, a police officer can judge this to be a distraction, asking motorists to turn the light off, or worse, charging them with careless driving.
Please don’t feed the meter
It may seem innocent enough to ask a passer-by to help out with spare change, when short at a parking meter and there’s errands to be run. However, this could be classed as begging and deemed a criminal act according to the Vagrancy Act.
Louise Seddon, brand manager at Redex, said: “We wanted to uncover offences that many motorists may not realise they’re committing, and some of them have come as a real surprise. We hope that our research can provide some insight for road users and encourage people to be more vigilant when it comes to driving and abiding by car laws in the UK.”
Brian Koffman, motoring and criminal law specialist at Brian Koffman & Co said: “The car laws that Redex has highlighted are broken by a number of motorists - but many people break them inadvertently, as they just don’t understand what the law is.
"It’s important that people do stick to the rules of the road; it’s to keep you safe, keep your passengers safe, and to keep other road users safe. If you commit an offence, you will receive penalty points or a fine, or in more serious cases you could be disqualified from driving or sent to prison.”
To test your driving law knowledge, find an interactive quiz from Redex via this link: here