10 Things You Didn’t Know it was Illegal to Do While Driving

Lockdown is still in place in England, but with the PM announcing that a ‘roadmap’ back to normality is due to be released soon, there is light at the end of this very long tunnel. So, for this blog, we thought we’d have a bit of fun. Let’s talk about the more obscure rules of the road that you may not have come across yet.

10 Driving Rules You Probably Didn’t Know About

1. Splashing pedestrians with puddles

Most of us have been a victim of it at some point or another, and it’s been used in endless comedic scenarios on screen. But did you know that it’s against the law to drive through a puddle and splash pedestrians? It’s classified as driving “without reasonable consideration for other persons.” So, although it might be tempting, if you see your ex standing at the side of the road, it’s worth remembering that it could get you three points on your licence, as well as a fine of between £100 – £5,000 if it goes to court.

2. Eating or drinking while driving

This can be a tricky one on long journeys, and there aren’t many drivers who can honestly say that they’ve never snaffled a snack while behind the wheel. But food and drink can be really distracting, and that can mean that you’re not fully in control of your vehicle. And that’s the real sticking point. If the police believe that you are distracted, whether by shoving a sandwich down your throat or searching for a lost bottle of Coke, they’re as likely to fine you as if you were applying makeup or using your phone while on the move. Fines start at £100.

3. Swearing

Now, we all know how tempting it can be to tell other drivers exactly what you think of them. But just stop and think before lowering your window. Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, swearing at fellow road users carries a potential fine of up to £1,000. It’s far better to bite your tongue and forget about it.

4. Driving with an undeclared medical condition

Most of us know that we need to declare any major medical conditions, such as epilepsy, neurological conditions or heart conditions to the DVLA. But the number of things that you need to declare is probably far higher than you’re aware of, with even temporary conditions needing notification if you’re intending to drive. Think, caesarean section. Failing to report any of the conditions on the list can land you with a £1,000 fine.

5. Loud music

Pumping up the tunes and singing along badly is surely one of the greatest joys of driving? And while it’s not strictly against the law, if the police deem it a distraction, it can land you with a £100 on the spot fine.

6. Using your lights to signal to give way

Most of us think that a little flash to let someone know that they can go ahead and drive is a polite thing to do. But technically, we’re not meant to do it. Flashing lights can dazzle and cause accidents. The only time you’re really meant to flash your lights is to let drivers know of a hazard on the road.

7. Driving too slowly

So, you know that you mustn’t exceed the speed limit. But did you know that you can be fined up to £5,000 if you drive too slowly? You’re not only inconveniencing other drivers, but endangering them by necessitating overtaking.

8. Parking on the wrong side of the road at night

Most people pay very little attention to the direction in which they park their cars. But rule 248 of the Highway Code states that, “a car must not be parked at the side of the road facing against the direction of traffic unless in a recognised parking space” after dark. This is because the front of the car has nothing to catch the headlights of oncoming vehicles, creating a hazard for other drivers.

9. Failing to inform the DVLA about a change in details

You are legally obliged to inform the DVLA if any of your personal details change. This includes your name and address. Failure to do so, can result in a fine of up to £1,000 if you’re caught out.

10. Leaving a child alone in a car – even for five minutes

Imagine the scenario. You’ve got a young baby in the car. You’ve been driving for an hour to get the little bundle of joy to sleep. And now you’re running out of fuel. You decide to nip to the garage and fill up. The problem there is that you will then have to take the baby in with you when you go to pay. Whether you’re driving a single child, or you’ve got a whole brood in the back of a people carrier, unless you’ve got another adult with you, they can’t stay in the car if you’re getting out.

There are loads of other things that you shouldn’t do while driving. Most of them come down to common sense, like not driving with snow on your roof, your windscreen dirty, or with an animal loose in the car. The general rule is that if it feels like a stupid thing to do, then it probably is! So, in the last few weeks of lockdown, really get to grips with your Highway Code. And remember, if you have any questions, you can always ask your DGN driving instructor.

Are you thinking of learning to drive after lockdown? Get in early, and book your lessons today!

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Thomas Baugh

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