10 Every day driving laws that you might accidentally be breaking
It’s amazing to think how far driving law has come since the first motor car was first invented, bearing in mind that the first ever speed limit was 2 mph, requiring someone to walk in front of the car waving a red flag. Somewhere along the road these laws can get lost in translation, resulting in some laws like requiring Hackney carriages to carry a bale of hay and a bag of oats at all times. But these aren’t that. These are the little laws that you may not know about, or unknowingly do everyday that could land you in some trouble.
LAW ONE: Sleeping in your car while drunk.
PUNISHMENT: Minimum 10 penalty points and a potential for a fine
We all know that we just can’t be drink-driving, none, zip, whatsoever. But, what not many people know, if you’re planning to just write it off and have a kip in your car overnight, this could prove to be a rather costly affair for you. Simply being intoxicated in your vehicle means that you’ll have to try and prove that you had no intention to drive, which is a bit of a losing battle without any real evidence.
LAW TWO: Flashing your light to warn others of a speed camera
PUNISHMENT: £30 minimum fine
This might be your idea of helping a fellow motorist out, simply because speed camera’s are the bane of the british motorist. By giving an oncoming car a flash to let them know there’s a particularly sneaky trap up ahead, you might think that you’re a modern-day motoring Robin Hood. But if you’re caught using flashing your lights with the attention of catching the attention of another motorist, the police will interpret this as ‘a dangerous practice’ and a driving distraction.
LAW THREE: Using an unfixed phone as your SatNav
PUNISHMENT: £200 and up to 6 penalty points
You’d be surprised how many people still aren’t getting this. YOU CAN’T BE MESSING ABOUT WITH YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING. Goodness sake. If it’s not fixed to your dash/mirror at a 45 degree angle to yourself, you can’t be looking at it every 5 minutes or touching/changing it – get yourself a stand, it’s guaranteed cheaper than a £200 fine.
LAW FOUR: Allowing a Passenger to hold a baby while driving
PUNISHMENT: £100 fine
We don’t think we’ve ever seen this happen, and we’re not entirely sure what would lead to this – but one thing is for certain, you can’t do it. As the driver, you are responsible for the safety for all your passengers, regardless of age, so you need to make sure they are appropriately buckled up and ready for the journey.
LAW FIVE: Allowing dirt to obscure your licence plate number
PUNISHMENT: £100 fine
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t believe in washing their car, for whatever mental reason you may have, or are an off road aficionado, make sure you get that licence plate squeaky clean. Having an obscured or illegible plate makes it difficult for police methods to verify that your car is insured/taxed/is yours, and therefore is dangerous and illegal.
LAW SIX: Leaving snow on your car roof
PUNISHMENT: £60 fine and 3 penalty points
I know that this might sound slightly far-fetched in the UK where we only really get proper snow about 1 day a year, but this can be seriously dangerous. When you’re clearing snow off your car, it’s important to remember to clear EVERYTHING off, a little bit on the roof may seem harmless, but if it slips down while driving – you’ll be in a world of trouble.
LAW SEVEN: Paying for your food using Apple/Android Pay at a Drive-Thru
PUNISHMENT: £200 fine and 6 penalty points
This one seems a little bit harsh, we admit. If you’re part of the new breed that uses their smartphone’s payment function and you’re behind the wheel, unfortunately that is technically breaking the law, no matter what you’re doing/where you are. If you’re lucky, a bobby waiting in line for his quarter pounder at lunch won’t give you any bother, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
LAW EIGHT: Making a profit from giving lifts
PUNISHMENT: Up to £5,000 in fines and six penalty points
Oooh this one is interesting. The rise of people giving ‘Facebook Lifts’ is quickly falling as people were starting to receive police warnings for their actions. If your intentions are to shell out your driving on a Saturday night to pick up people from the pubs and clubs to make a bit of cash, it is illegal to make a profit if you are not a licensed taxi without the appropriate paperwork. Chipping in for petrol is fine, don’t worry, but you’d better forget about looking to make a wedge.
LAW NINE: Splashing pedestrians with puddles
PUNISHMENT: 3 points on your licence
…what? No, surely not? Well, apparently running through a puddle and splashing someone walking along the pavement is no longer just a ‘harsh move’ but it’s also illegal, who knew? Obviously there must be some discretion in this sort of case, but for people charging through puddles to make the biggest tidal wave possible obviously need some sort of punishment.
LAW TEN: Swearing at other road users
PUNISHMENT: Fines of up to 75% of your weekly income.
We don’t think we have EVER seen this enforced, otherwise we know some people we see on our morning commutes who might well be expecting a pretty hefty fine their way. Apparently this stems from ‘disorderly behaviour’ laws, that apply to some *ahem* inspired words or gesticulations when you’re displeased with someone’s driving. Maybe hold off on flipping the bird to that person who cut you up at that last junction, it might not be worth it.