5 Driving Offences You Didn’t Realise Were Illegal
by Mikki Wright
Some driving offences, such as speeding or parking on double yellow lines might be obvious. But there are other driving laws that are a little less obvious and we may be breaking some of them regularly. Not only can this be dangerous to ourselves and others, it could land us in trouble with the law too.
Here are 5 driving offences that you may well be breaking without realising:
Using your phone to pay at a drive-thru
Whilst we all know that it’s illegal to use a phone whilst driving, less of us may know that this also includes use when paying at a drive-thru.
As of July 2020, Google Pay has over 214,000 active monthly users in the UK and this is just one of numerous apps that are available on your phone to make a payment. As such, it’s likely that many are using such apps when making a payment at a drive-thru and this could land you in trouble with the law.
Currently, a driver can only use their phone in the car if the engine is off and they’re safely parked. Drivers found not adhering to this law are at risk of a £200 fine and six points on their driving license.
You can face a driving ban if you build up twelve points on your license over a three year period, therefore if you already have six points and are caught using your phone behind the wheel, you could be instantly disqualified. If you have only held your driver’s license for under two years, you may be instantly disqualified for accruing six points and would have to obtain a new provisional license, plus pass both your theory and practical driving tests to re-gain a full license.
Driving too slowly
Whilst speeding is the most common driving offence in the UK, less of us may be aware that driving too slowly is also an offence.
The law states that you must drive with due care and attention. Therefore, if you’re caught driving at a speed deemed low enough to endanger the lives of yourself or others, this could result in a £100 fine and three penalty points.
Be sure to keep an eye out for a change in speed limits whilst driving, in order to avoid driving too slowly.
As we head into cooler months, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing more puddles on the road. With that said, there’s always a strong possibility of rain at any time of the year in the UK!
Whilst driving through a puddle in itself is not a driving offence, it can quickly become one. The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it is illegal to drive without reasonable consideration for other persons, which includes driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed.
To avoid splashing pedestrians, always try to safely drive around a puddle, leaving plenty of space. Ignoring this can lead to a £100 fine and three penalty points, but it’s worth noting that the offence can also lead to a fine of £5,000 if a driver’s behaviour is found to be an act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience or is aggression.
Everyone can get frustrated from time to time whilst driving, whether it’s due to traffic or the decisions made by other drivers.
Statistics show that aggressive driving is the cause of 66% of traffic fatalities. It’s therefore important to take action to prevent feeling angry whilst driving, whether this means parking up safely to take a break, or finding methods to help you stay clam behind the wheel. In the UK, it is illegal to swear at other road users, under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which can lead to receiving a £1,000 fine.
Having snow on the roof of your car
If you are setting off in the colder months without fully clearing your windscreen and roof of snow, you could well be charged with driving without due consideration, which can be accompanied by three penalty points.
Prior to setting off in your car, you should de-mist all mirrors and lights, as well as removing any snow from your windscreen, windows and roof. Snow left behind on your roof can fall onto the windscreen when driving and therefore impair your vision, which poses a risk to other road users and yourself.
Top tip: Keep some de-mister and a scraper in your glove box at all times, to help speed up the process and avoid being late.
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