10 driving offences you didn't know were illegal

We all know that we shouldn’t be speeding, drink driving or running a red light. But there are a number of other offences you may be committing without even knowing it. For example we saw at least 10 people doing number 4 on our way to the office this morning.

1.    Sleeping in your car while inebriated – Legally speaking you are still classed as being in charge of a car if you’re inside it, even if you are asleep. So it’s not a wise plan to use your car as a place to rest your head whilst you sober up. If you are caught you can be charged with being In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink and get 10 points on your licence.

2.    Parking on the wrong side of the road at night -  This is may seem like a weird motoring law but it’s in place to prevent oncoming drivers being dazzled by the lights of the parking car as it arrives and leaves. This makes perfect sense when you think about it like that. If you are caught, you can get a penalty charge notice for this motoring offence.

3.    Letting your dog out of the car if you’ve broken down on a hard shoulder -  (Also applies to cats, horses, gerbils…). The Highway Code clearly states that human passengers should exit their car while waiting on the hard shoulder; however the advice for animals differs. Animals MUST be left in your car unless there is an emergency and then they need to be kept under proper control on the verge. 
If you’re travelling with your dog you also need to make sure that they are properly restrained.

4.    Flashing lights to let other drivers go - Whilst this may seem like a common and helpful act, it is actually illegal to flash other drivers unless you are doing so to signal your presence. Your ‘flash’ could be open to mis-interpretation, leaving you in trouble if an accident occurred. More severe penalties apply if you are flashing to warn other drivers about a speed camera. If you’re caught doing this the fine could be up to £1000 for obstructing an officer’s duty.

5.    Using the horn between 11.30pm and 7am in a built up area - No one would appreciate being woken up by an inconsiderate driver sounding their horn. But did you realise that this is actually a driving offense? It also applies to the little beeps as you leave friends houses or taxi drivers alerting you to an early morning pick up.

6.    Using your phone to pay for food at a drive thru - Since the mobile phone and driving laws changed earlier this year, you can now be fined £200 and get 6 penalty points for using a hand held phone in the car. This also applies to using your phone to make a contactless payment at a drive-thru. 

7.    Driving too slowly – Speed limits are not intended to be a target and the Highway Code states that you must drive to the conditions of the road. However driving too slowly can annoy other drivers and may result in them making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. If caught you can be charged with inconsiderate driving resulting in a fine and up to 9 points.

8.    Eating, drinking, applying make up, changing CD – These are not offences in their own right but if they significantly distract you from driving you could get charged with a careless driving motoring offence. The current penalty for which is £100 and 3 penalty points.

9.    Overtaking at a pedestrian crossing – This rule is in place to protect any pedestrians that you might not be able to see behind other cars queuing at the crossing. Even if the lights turn green as you approach and the road ahead is clear, you must wait until you are clear of the crossing to overtake.

10.    Not having children in correct car seats -  Car seat laws changed in March 2017, making older style boosters illegal for children weighing less than 22kg and under 125cm tall. There are a number of other categories of car seat, depending on the weight and size of the child and it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that any children under 14 years old are in the correct car seat. Failing to do so can leave you with a £500 fine. 

Whilst some of these motoring offences might seem obscure they can end up with serious consequences which can affect your insurance premium so make sure you try to stay on top of the changes to driving laws. The following links have the most up to date driving laws
•    Road Traffic Act(s)
•    Highway Code

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