When it comes to following the rules of the road, drivers have a lot to remember. The Highway Code has over 300 separate rules for road users, and more are being added all the time – making it quite tricky to memorise all the do’s and don’ts.
Last year, we challenged Redex readers to take our UK driving laws quiz, testing your knowledge of the different rules and regulations that make our roads some of the safest in the world. And we’ve been quite impressed by some of the results you’ve shared with us on our Facebook page.
Some of the questions that have tripped people up during the quiz relate to the odd driving laws that are either new, old or just easy to forget. So, to shed light on the quirkier side of the Highway Code, here are 20 weird driving laws you probably never knew about.
You can be penalised for driving too slowly
That’s right – very slow driving can be classed as careless driving, especially if the police think it’s putting the safety of other road users at risk (on the motorway, for example).
Be careful when paying for things like fuel or fast food on your phone at a drive-through – you could be fined
Under the new ‘using a phone while driving’ laws, it clearly states that you could receive 6 points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone while driving. So, the next time you go to pay for drive-through food or fuel, reach for your wallet instead.
Splashing pedestrians is a driving offence
This falls under the ‘driving without due care or consideration’ category, and could land you a £100 fine and three points on your licence.
Idling your car unnecessarily is against the law
Never leave your car idling, even when you’re trying to defrost the windscreen. Because of tougher emissions and environment laws, this is a big no-no.
Parking on the pavement could earn you a £70 fine
Right now, this law only applies in London, but it could soon be illegal in other parts of the country – so watch where you park!
You could get penalty points for eating and drinking at the wheel
If you eat, drink, apply make-up or smoke at the wheel, you need to be careful, as this could be classed as driving without due care and attention if the police decide it’s made you unsafe.
Listening to loud music at the wheel could get you in trouble with the police
Just like eating or drinking, this can be classed as a due care or attention offence.
It’s illegal to use an unfixed mobile phone as a sat nav
Under the government’s new mobile phone driving laws, it’s an offence to use a smartphone as a sat nav unless it’s securely fastened to a holder or mount.
If you sleep in your car while over the legal alcohol limit, you could get 10 points on your licence
A weird one this, but if you ever find yourself too tipsy to drive, don’t sleep in your car; get a hotel instead, because even sleeping at the wheel while over the alcohol limit is a crime. The same goes if you’re drinking in a motorhome that’s not parked in a designated campsite; the police could prosecute, even if you have no intention of driving.
Got dirt on your number plate? It could cost you £100
Police rely on number plates to trace info about different drivers and vehicles, so they take a strong stance on dirty plates.
You could be fined for failing to clear snow from your car’s roof
We know clearing snow and ice from your car before work is never fun, but make sure you do a decent job of it; you could be fined if you don’t clear ice from your windows and loose snow from the roof.
Beeping your horn in stationary traffic for no reason is against the law
If you beep your horn while stationary, you need to have a good reason – like a car reversing towards you, for example. Horns can easily distract other road users, so the police take a harsh view on their use.
If you forget to turn your lights on at night, you could be stung by a £50 fine
We know it’s easily done, especially if you’re in a well-lit area or pulling out of a petrol station, but always try to remember your lights. Luckily, a lot of new cars have automatic lights, so this should become less and less of a problem.
Swearing at or being aggressive towards other drivers is an offence classed as ‘disorderly behaviour’
This might sound like an obvious one, but it’s worth remembering if you suffer from the odd bout of road rage at the wheel.
Flashing other cars to alert them about a speed camera is an offence
This can be classed as obstructing the duty of a police officer and a form of ‘vigilante justice’ that should be avoided. Only use your lights to let other road users know you’re there.
Driving with unrestrained pets could get you fined
Always make sure your four-legged friends are restrained while driving, or you could be pulled over for driving without due care and attention. The Highway Code states that all pets should be restrained, either with a harness, dog guard or by placing them in a pet carrier or dog cage.
Sticking a sat nav to the wrong part of your windscreen could land you a fine
By law, a sat nav shouldn’t be placed within 29cm of the steering column, and should be out of your direct eye line so that it can’t cause distractions.
Driving over 30mph on a street-lit road could be classed as speeding
Wherever you see street lights, you should assume that the speed limit is 30mph, unless there are repeater signs telling you otherwise.
Thought about tinting your car’s windows? Think again
While tinting rear windows is legal, applying after-market window tints to the front is illegal, and the police will ask drivers to remove it before issuing a penalty notice.
That big bore exhaust could cost more than just your street cred
One of the most common illegal car modifications is an adapted big bore exhaust, which produces noise above the 90-decibel threshold allowed for private vehicles. Police can take action against any driver whose exhaust silencer isn’t keeping engine noise to a minimum, or if they think the person is driving in a way which creates too much noise.
So, there you have it, 20 of the weirdest motoring rules you probably didn’t know about.
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