Driving Laws – Fact or Fiction?

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By Georgina Bailey
Marketing Executive

Driving laws, rules and regulations can be baffling and it can be hard to differentiate between fact and fiction. We are going to dispel a few motoring myths and reveal what is fact, and what is fiction when it comes to the law.

1. Are you allowed to drive barefoot or in flip-flops?

In the UK at present that is no law that states you must wear appropriate shoes for driving. The DVSA does advise however: “Suitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel. We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don’t have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on.” Flip-flops can also be dangerous as they can wedge underneath the pedal or slip from off your foot.

2. Is it illegal to sleep in your car?

If you are over the drink drive limit, then it is against the law to sleep in your car. Drivers can also get themselves in trouble for parking and sleeping in areas where overnight stays are illegal. Taking a nap in a service station is usually okay, just take note of the car parks maximum stay limit.

3. Is it against the law to eat or drink soft drinks while driving?

Again there is no said law that prevents drivers from indulging behind the wheel, however again it is highly inadvisable. The Police are able to prosecute those who are not in full control of their vehicle whilst they eat or drink. Leeds University conducted a study showing that those who munch behind the wheel are in more danger than those who use a phone. Drivers caught eating whilst driving were 44% slower than the normal rate. A brilliant example of eating whilst driving been taken too far was this bewildering story from 2016 where a woman was caught on camera casually eating a bowl of pasta whilst driving along the M60 motorway at 50mph.

In addition to not knowing if a driving law is fact or fiction, there are other laws that you may not even be aware that you are breaking. We are going to have a look at some common examples of driving laws you may not have known.

1. Giving way to emergency services.

Drivers can receive a fine if they break the law whilst moving out the way of an emergency service vehicle. For example entering a bus lane or going through a red light to let the vehicle through can attract a minimum £100 fine and 3 penalty points.

2. Flashing headlights to warn motorist about speed traps.

Although you may feel like you are doing a good deed by flashing your lights to warn other motorists, it can get you into big trouble. The minimum fine is £30, but it can range upwards to a £1000 as you are obstructing a police officer’s duty.

3. Paying with a phone at the drive through.

Yes, believe it or not, using your mobile to pay for your food at a drive through will still count as using a phone behind the wheel. This offence will cost you a fine of £200 and six penalty points.

4. Dirt on your number plate.

Number plates that are covered by dirt or grime can attract a fine for the driver, if Police deem your number plate is not entirely legible you could be hit with a £50 on the spot fine or taken to court where you could to fined up to £1000.

5. Driving Licence Conditions

The information codes on the back of your licence relate to the rules and regulations about what and how you can drive. The most common code is 01 which relates to eyesight, if you have this on your licence and stopped by the Police and are not wearing glasses/contact lenses you could be fined up to £1000. For more information about the codes on your licence read our previous blog: Code Can Mean £1000 Fine

Did any of these laws surprise you? Have you ever been in trouble for something you had no idea was against the law? Do you have any interesting stories involving driving laws? Be sure to head over to social media and let us know @connect_insure on Twitter and @cibltd on Facebook.

Related Article:
The Sun: Is it illegal to eat while driving, to drive in flip flops or barefoot and can you sleep in your car? UK driving rules explained