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Driving myths BUSTED – rules you probably believe, but are they true?


Driving myths in the UKGETTY

Driving myths in the UK busted and confirmed

Common driving myths that drivers take as gospel that could actually land them with fines and penalty points on their licence.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions of UK driving law –

Can I eat or drink while driving?

Technically yes. There is no specific law that permits motorists from as long as they are not distracted while doing so. 

Police officers can prosecute you for dangerous driving if they deem you to not be in proper control of your vehicle. 

Motorists charged with “careless driving” can receive three penalty points and a fine of up to £100.

The that: “There is no specific law against eating and drinking at the wheel, but officers may still prosecute drivers if their behaviour impacts their ability to control the vehicle.”

The rule for drinking behind the wheel is the same as eating while driving – as long as you are in proper control and are not distracted, then you will not be fined. 

I can’t drink alcohol, but can passengers in the car? 

Yes. Believe it or not, it is not illegal for a passenger to drink while being driven in a car or for a driver to have open alcohol containers in a car. 

Eating, drinking and using mobile phone while drivingGETTY

Eating and drinking while driving aren’t illegal but using your mobile phone is

Can I smoke?

You can smoke a cigarette while behind the wheel in certain circumstances. 

As with eating and drinking behind the wheel, the act itself is not illegal but it can land you a fine and penalty point endorsement if your driving can be deemed as “careless”.

In addition to this, as of October 1st 2015 it was made illegal for motorists to smoke in a car carrying passengers under the age of 18. Drivers can face a fine of £50 if they are caught flouting this rule.

Can I use my headphones while driving?

Currently there is no specific law that permits you from driving with headphones, but it is heavily discouraged.

The offence falls under the category of  driving without due care and attention and careless driving which carry fines and penalty point endorsements. 

Listening to loud music while driving  can be very distracting and prevent you from hearing sirens and traffic warnings. 

Using headphones while drivingGETTY

Using headphones while driving is not illegal

I can’t use my phone, but can I use a hands free? 

Yes you can use a hands free system but in the same way eating, drinking and using headphones while driving you can be fined if it deemed to be distracting.

Additionally, if at any point you are caught touching your phone then you can receive a £200 fine and six penalty points. 

Can I use a sat nav or my phone as a sat nav?

Drivers are allowed to use a traditional sat nav as long as the device doesn’t obscure their view from behind the wheel. Additionally, if the device is deemed to be distracting drivers can also land a penalty fine.

Simply put, sat nav need to be in a fixed position for the duration of your journey. 

If motorists are the same rules apply but if the phone is touched while driving you can land a fine.

Drivers are therefore advised to set up their sat nav in the dock before leaving and setting the route live before you set off. 

Can I use my phone to pay for fast food? 

Technically no. Drivers could bee stung by a fine of up to £1,000 if they are caught while driving. 

Apple Pay and Android Pay are becoming increasingly more popular methods of payment but using them while in your car could see you land a fine.

In March the fine for using a smartphone while driving increased to £200 and six penalty points but if your case goes to caught you can land a maximum fine of £1,000. 

GMP Traffic stated in a tweet that drivers mustn’t us their phone to pay for food unless “your engine is off and your handbrake applied and you’re parked” adding that  “If your engine is on NO.”

Can I have the light in my car on?

It is a common myth that drivers must not have their interior light on wheel they are driving.

In addition to this, there is no law preventing drivers from using their interior light while they are driving but a police officer can pull you over and tell you to turn it off if they believe it is distracting you. 

Does the 10 per cent speeding rule exist?

You will often be told that you can travel ten per cent over the speed limit and get away with it – but this is not strictly true. 

A National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) spokesperson said in relation to the allowance: “The 10 per cent rule is allowed in guidance but it is not part of legislation.

“It is used as a rule of thumb for enforcement – 10 per cent over the speed limit plus 2mph.

“The thinking behind this, is to ensure that enforcement is proportionate.”

Uk motorists are allowed a tolerance for a number of reasons including inaccuracies in equipment used to measure speed such as speedometers. 

However, this tolerance is not an endorsement for drivers to speed. 

Under the new speeding laws introduced on April 24th drivers can receive a fine of up top 175 per cent of their weekly wage.



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