No matter how long you’ve been driving for, it’s likely that you’ve been told a myth or two about UK driving laws. To separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve put together a list of the most common driving misconceptions to assist you on the road. So if you’re unsure about leaving your interior lights on while driving or reaching down for your morning flask of tea, we’re here to help!
It Is Illegal to Eat or Drink Behind the Wheel
While there is no law preventing you from eating or drinking while driving, it is possible to be pulled over and prosecuted by a police officer if they believe this is causing you to drive carelessly. You could face either a fine or points on your licence.
You Are Breaking the Law If You Drive with Your Interior Light On
We can’t be sure how many people have grown up thinking this myth was true, but we definitely know one or two people who have overreacted every time a passenger has reached up to switch on the interior light. Fear not, as this is not illegal and police officers may only pull you over to tell you to turn it off if they believe it to be a distraction to you. Mystery solved!
Moving for an Ambulance Can Cost you a Fine
Although it is necessary to move over and stop for an ambulance, there are some instances where doing so could get you in trouble with the law. Under no circumstances should you enter a bus lane, stop in a yellow box junction or drive through a red traffic light when trying to move out of the way of an ambulance. These examples carry a hefty fine, while being paired with 3 penalty points.
You Are Banned from Using Your Headphones While Driving
As there is currently no law prohibiting this so you can drive with headphones in, although it isn’t advised doing so with the volume too loud or else this will fall into the category of driving without due care. If an officer of the law thought this to be the case, you could face fines or points on your licence.
It’s Against the Law to Use Your Phone to Pay at A Drive Thru
Unlike the other myths, this is in fact true and carries a hefty fine if drivers are caught using their phone to pay while driving. If you’d like to avoid a £1,000 fine, perhaps it’s worth carrying an alternative payment method next time you stop for coffee or a burger… or two. If that isn’t an option, always ensure that your engine is turned off and your handbrake is applied before picking your phone up to pay.
You Aren’t Breaking the Law If You Drive Without Shoes On
Despite what you may have been told, you are in fact allowed to drive barefoot (or in flip flops) in the UK. If you do decide to drive without shoes there is a slight catch, as you must prove you are able to operate the controls safely. Therefore, driving with wet feet or with slippery pedals could put yourself, your passengers and other motorists at risk so consider a sensible shoe with good grip when you drive.
Splashing Pedestrians With Puddles Is a Criminal Act
If a car has ever driven passed and splashed you while walking down the street on a rainy day, they are breaking the law! This seemingly unpleasant act is a criminal offence known as ‘driving without reasonable consideration for other persons’. If convicted, drivers are given three penalty points as well as a fine from £100 to £5,000 if the case goes to court. We advise slowing down when you approach puddles to avoid incidents like this.
Road Rage Isn’t a Punishable Offence
Swearing or making obscene gestures to other motorists is an offence and can carry unwanted fines as it is regarded to be disorderly behaviour. Although incidents on the road can sometimes ruffle our feathers, it’s never worth the risk of being fined, as the payment amount is calculated to be 75% of your weekly income.
Driving too Slowly is a Violation
Falling into the category of ‘inconsiderate driving’, dawdling drivers can be defined as driving a vehicle on a road or in a public place without reasonable consideration for other motorists. By driving considerably under the speed limit, these drivers put other motorists at risk as they become a hazard to other road users who are aware of the national speed limit.
You Are Allowed to Drive 10% Over the Speed Limit
TRUE & FALSE
This myth is a little hazy as there are conflicting legislations to argue that the 10% speed allowance doesn’t exist. A National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) spokesperson said in reference to the allowance: “The 10 per cent rule is allowed in guidance but it is not part of legislation.” This has been used as a rule of thumb by law enforcement, suggesting that driving 10% over the speed limit plus 2mph is allowed. Although sticking to the speed limit is your safest option as there can be fine and penalty points involved for drivers caught speeding.
Likewise, if you want to test your driving knowledge to see how much you know, why not complete our Driving Genius quiz to see if you can get the high score!