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Driving rules you may not be aware you’re breaking

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February 10, 2020
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When it comes to driving you may think you know all of the rules and that you’re the world’s best driver.

However, there are some rules that even the most ardent of drivers didn’t realise could land you a fine or points on your licence.

Driving with headphones in

While there is no specific law that prevents you from using headphones whilst driving, you could still be issued a hefty fine, if they are deemed to be distracting.

The police could charge you with driving without due care and attention or careless driving, if you are distracted by your headphones. Many drivers may use them as a way to use their mobile phone hands free, but you may be unable to hear a pedestrian, cyclist or emergency services vehicle while driving.

Careless driving can see you be fined £100 on the spot, along with three penalty points. If your case were to go to court the fine could rise up to £5,000 and could see drivers rack up as many as nine points on your licence or even a driving ban.

If you’re using your headphones in conjunction with your mobile phone, you could face a fine under the latest phone driving laws, which could see you fined £200 and six points added to your licence, according to the Express.

Littering from your car

In 2019 new legislation introduced by the Government, now allows local authorities to almost double the amount drivers can be fined. If proven that litter was thrown from your vehicle, the driver is liable to pay £150, no matter who threw the rubbish. Latest reports show councils are currently spending £800 million per year cleaning in the region of 200,000 bags worth of rubbish from roadsides.

Vaping whilst driving

Another rule in which the activity is not strictly against the law, but vaping in a vehicle could see drivers fined or have points added to their licence, if smoke is considered to block your view of road hazards.

Typically fines start at £100 and potentially they could see three points added to their licence. If a police officer deems your vaping to be incredibly hazardous, they could charge you with dangerous driving. This could exponentially increase your punishment and you could be hit with up to nine points and a maximum fine of £5,000.

Sleeping whilst drunk in your car

If you have too much to drink and have no way of getting home, you might think the sensible thing is to sleep if off in your car. However, if the police catch you, you can be prosecuted for being “drunk in charge of a motor vehicle”, says Road Traffic Specialist Alex Garner told Confused.

This is an offence under section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. “The penalty is a minimum ten penalty points and a fine”, says Alex Garner, “and could mean a jail term along with a twelve month ban.”

Driving in flip flops

Driving in flip flops could lead to a carless driving charge if they are deemed to impede your ability to drive safely. In the Highway Code rule 97 states drivers must have “footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”.

Flip flops could slip off, get trapped under pedals or prevent you from pressing the pedals with enough force to brake quickly, which could cause you to drive erratically or even lead to a collision.

If stopped by police while driving in a potentially dangerous manner or your footwear is a reason for an accident, you could be charged with driving without due care and attention. Careless driving carries a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on your licence.

And if contested in court, the charge could be a maximum fine of up to £5,000, and/or up to nine penalty points or a driving ban.

Eating/drinking whilst driving

There is no law against or drinking while driving, however if police believe you’re not in proper control of your vehicle because you’re eating or drinking they can charge you with careless driving.

A 2012 study by the University of Leeds suggests that the reaction times of motorists who were eating were up to 44 per cent slower than usual.

If you’ve been convicted of any of the above offences, or been convicted of another driving offence and have since been denied insurance, Adrian Flux may be able to offer you a policy at a satisfactory rate.

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