Things Drivers Do That Are Actually Illegal

You’ve memorised all the signs and practiced all your manoeuvres, you’ve passed your driving tests and gain confidence as you hit the road to enjoy your new found freedom that driving gives you.

Fast forward a few years and you have done countless miles; you even know some of the racing lines on the local B roads. You’re almost a racing driver, almost.

However, unless you’re going wildly over the speed limit or using your phone behind the wheel, most of us are on the right side of the law right? Umm, no.

Here is a list of offences that drivers commit without even realising, it obviously excludes more obvious offences such as using your mobile phone while driving

Lane Hogging​

Lane hogging can be frustrating at the best of times and downright dangerous at others. In summer 2015, in the first case of its kind, a driver was prosecuted for hogging the middle lane. The highway code rule 264 states that all drivers must keep in the left hand lane when not overtaking, this also applies to slow moving or speed restricted vehicles unless overtaking. 

Taking prescription drugs before driving

Under the Road traffic Act 1988 section 4, it is an offence to drive or attempt to drive a vehicle under the influence of drugs. However, In March 2015, the government introduced new road side screening devices and new driving limits for a number of prescription drugs. Over the counter drugs such as Codeine, could land you with a driving ban. The full list of prescribed drugs that can land you on the wrong side of the law is much longer so it’s advised that you check with your doctor or pharmacist and do not drive if you are advised that your judgement may be impaired.

Not clearing your windscreen before driving

Running a bit late for the school run or work in the morning? You’ve cleared your windscreen and you’re in the clear right?

Au contraire, the Highway Code requires the driver to be able to see out of every glass panel in the vehicle, this means clearing off snow and frost from windows and mirrors. The law also requires all the lights and number plate to be clear as well. You can get fined up to a £1000 if you number plate isn't clearly visible or readable, so no funny fonts, colours or emojis.

If you ever get caught short of scraper, you can see our guide to de-icing here!

Smoking

The law which came into effect on 1st of October 2015 makes it illegal to smoke in a car or any other vehicle with anyone under the age of 18 to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

If caught, the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. The law applies to any private vehicle that is covered wholly or partly by a roof, when the windows or sunroof are open, or the air conditioning on and when someone sits smoking in the open doorway of a vehicle.

There are some exceptions though to the law though, you can still use e-cigarettes and smoke if you have a convertible and the roof is fully down. If the driver is 17, they can still smoke if they are on their own.

Eating

An apple a day may keep the doctor away but it might not help when dealing with the police. Eating while behind the wheel of your car could get you in some trouble if there is an accident and could be charged with careless or dangerous driving.. According to Rule 148 of the Highway code, you should avoid distractions such as eating or drinking while driving.

Splashing pedestrians with puddles

We're never far away from a puddle or a pothole, thanks to the copious amount of rain we get.

Anyone who has walked in wet weather or worn white trainers knows the inherent danger of getting splashed icy cold dirty water. If you deliberately splash pedestrians, you can be handed a fixed penalty notice or be prosecuted under the 1988 Road Traffic Act for selfish or aggressive behaviour on the road. Inevitably, those charged with such offences can see their insurance increase.

Getting out of your car when stopped on a single yellow line

You've always assumed that parking on a single yellow line is permissible after a certain time of the day, however this is not always the case. There are three types of restrictions in place at a single yellow line.

No stopping – This disallows drivers stopping their vehicle for any reason other than emergencies.
No waiting – This allows you to drop or pick up passengers or load and unload goods, expect if there are loading/unloading restrictions in place.
No parking – While stopping and waiting is allowed, parking (leaving your vehicle unattended for any amount of time) is prohibited.

Make sure you check restrictions when you are parked on a yellow line.

Did we miss any unusual or strange laws that you know of? Let us know!