Whether you’re a new driver, or have been on the road for decades, you’ve probably come across a few driving myths. From driving wearing headphones to the 10% speeding allowance, there are plenty of myths out there about UK driving laws. So how can you be sure which so-called facts are accurate?
To help you get to grips with some of the biggest driving misconceptions out there, we’ve gone through eight of the most popular myths below. You could be surprised to learn which ones are true and which ones are false!
There may be some things that you’ve heard which don’t sound all that plausible when it comes to driving regulations. But they might just be true! The four rules we’ve outlined below are accurate, so make sure you avoid any of the mentioned violations!
1. Driving Too Slowly Is a Violation
Driving too slowly can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. If you’re driving significantly under the speed limit, it can be a hazard to other motorists, as they could have to brake suddenly when coming up behind your vehicle.
Essentially, driving too slowly counts as ‘inconsiderate driving’. There is no specific penalty for this, so it will depend on the circumstances of the incident. You could get a verbal warning from a police officer, or even be taken to court, charged with driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
2. You Can Eat and Drink When Driving
Some people are a bit wary about eating and drinking when they’re behind the wheel, as they’re not sure whether or not it’s permissible. There is no law that stops you from having a quick snack or drink while driving, though it is important that these things aren’t causing you to drive carelessly. You could get pulled over if your attention is more focused on the food and drink than the road!
It goes without saying that drinking behind the wheel doesn’t include alcoholic beverages. While you can technically have some alcohol before driving, it’s important to know your limit. Many people go by the rule of two pints or one large glass of wine being acceptable before driving, but there are many factors that can impact your blood-alcohol level which could mean you’d still be over the legal limit after drinking that amount of alcohol. These include your level of tiredness, how much you’ve eaten, and whether you’re on any medication. The best thing to do is completely avoid drinking alcohol before driving.
3. Splashing Pedestrians is Illegal
Splashing a pedestrian when you drive past them is certainly rude and inconsiderate, but is it really a criminal act? The answer is yes – if convicted, you could get up to three penalty points on your licence, and a fine of between £100 and £5,000.
Splashing pedestrians with puddles is an offence known as ‘driving without reasonable consideration for other persons’. Britain is often known for its politeness, and splashing pedestrians is no exception! So make sure you slow down when you’re driving over puddles.
4. Road Rage is a Punishable Offence
Most of us will get angry at some point while driving. Whether your anger is directed at other drivers, pedestrians, or just about anything on the road, you should be aware that it can be a punishable offence. Swearing at other motorists or making obscene gestures is classed as disorderly behaviour, and can come with a hefty fine.
The way the fine for road rage works is actually based on your income. You would generally be fined at a rate of 75% of your weekly income. So if you earned £500 a week, £375 of that income would be deducted.
We’ve all heard of the 10% speed limit allowance, right? Unfortunately, just because it’s a common belief, this doesn’t make it true. There are lots of driving myths that people treat as gospel, simply because these myths are followed by countless drivers. We’re here to debunk such myths, and help you stick to the rules of the road!
1. Driving With the Interior Light On is Illegal
Growing up, many of us were probably told by our parents that we couldn’t have the interior light on in the car while on the road, as it was against the law. This is actually not true – it’s not illegal to drive with the interior light on, though it can’t be a distraction.
You could be pulled over by the police if they believe that the light is taking your attention off the road, or if you’re driving carelessly. Reckless driving can lead to a fine, or points on your licence. So if you want to turn the light on inside your car to do something that will distract you from the road, it’s best to pull over first.
2. You Can’t Use Headphones While Driving
There is some sense to this idea. If you drive whilst wearing headphones, particularly noise cancelling ones, you may not be fully aware of what is happening around you. But technically speaking, there is no law prohibiting you from driving with headphones.
As with driving with the interior light on though, you are at risk of driving without due care. If a police officer stopped you and felt this was the case, you could be facing points on your licence, or a fine.
3. You Must Wear Shoes When Driving
This is another myth that a lot of people probably grew up hearing. The reasoning behind it was that if you were involved in an accident, it would be good to be wearing shoes when you had to leave the vehicle. However, it’s not against the law to drive barefoot in the UK. And you may be interested to learn that driving while wearing flip-flops is permissible too.
The key thing with driving barefoot is that you’re able to safely operate the pedals. If the pedals were a bit slippery, for instance, your feet could slide when barefoot, especially compared to shoes with good grip.
4. You Can Drive 10% Over the Speed Limit
Arguably, this myth isn’t completely false. There are some conflicting rules that mean you could get away with driving 10% above the speed limit. But the 10% rule is not actually part of UK legislation. It is allowed in guidance, though this will be down to the discretion of the police officer.
Law enforcement do tend to use the idea of driving 10% over the speed limit as a rule of thumb, but your best bet is to not exceed the limit whatsoever. If you are caught speeding, you could get a fine, not to mention points on your licence.
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