10 driving offences you could have committed without even being aware of; from the mundane to the obscure to the downright bizarre, this list has got it all.
You might think yourself to be a law-abiding driver if you don’t break the speed limits, hog the middle lane or run red lights, but it’s not always as simple as that. Chances are, you’ve committed driving offences without even knowing about it. Here are ten lesser-known ones many of us have unwittingly committed.
Driving too slowly.
While speed limits are enforced as a maximum possible speed you are permitted to drive, driving too slowly can also land you in hot water. Not only does it infuriate other drivers, but it is also unsafe and leads to unnecessary delays. If the police pull you over for driving too slowly, the penalty can range from a verbal warning to nine points on your driving licence, depending on the circumstances of the offence.
Playing excessively loud music in your vehicle
A harmless enough act of fun, you might think, as you and your friends crank the stereo up to belt out *that* part in Bohemian Rhapsody, (you know the one), but if the police deem it to be a distraction to the driver, evoking Bismallah’s isn’t going to get you out of a fine of up to £100. Mama Mia! This also goes for blasting loud music from a stationary vehicle, classified as a public nuisance, and bickering with your backseat passengers. Anything which can distract you for even a second could cause an accident on the roads, so reign in your air guitar while on the move.
Again, this sounds harmless enough, but an act of so-called ‘vigilante justice’ can break multiple laws. Not only are you using your headlights in an improper fashion if you flash at vehicles travelling in the opposite direction, but it is also an obstruction of proper justice. Speed cameras are designed to keep you and other road users safe and you can be slapped with a £1,000 fine if you are caught telling other drivers to slow down – even if you end up doing someone else a favour.
Making a profit from giving lifts
Obviously, you’re not going to want to be a taxi for free and charging your mates for a little petrol money when you ferry them about is completely acceptable, so long as you don’t look to make an unlicensed business out of it, i.e offering lifts for cash such as through a Facebook ‘Lifts’ group. Doing this could invalidate your insurance and leaves you liable for prosecution as you haven’t gone through the same licencing process as a taxi firm, so you can’t provide the same service.
Driving with interior lights on
Here we start to delve into the more obscure driving laws. You might be surprised to hear it’s not just an urban myth that you can’t drive with your interior lights on at night – it can also constitute as a distraction to the driver. Your eyes might struggle to pick things out in the dark if there’s a light on inside the cabin. So, while this isn’t actually illegal, your parents never lied to you about when you were younger either.
It might sound weird, but considering you’re not allowed to use a mobile phone while in charge of a vehicle at any other point, it makes sense that you can’t use it for contactless payment. In the technological age, more and more drivers are using their phones as a method of payment – a trend which could land them in trouble to the tune of a £200 fine and a potential confiscation of their licence if they are a newer driver. It is an offence to be using a hand-held mobile at any point while your vehicles’ engine is running, so be savvy.
Parking on the wrong side of the road at night
Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road in the UK is illegal if it’s done during the night. This isn’t because of the risks involved with pulling across any oncoming traffic but because your lights could dazzle oncoming motorists as you pull up and away, and your rear light reflectors won’t be visible once you’ve left your vehicle. However, you can’t show your frustration or displeasure at drivers unaware of the offence they are committing because there is a horn ban between 11:30 pm and 7:00 am in residential areas to be considerate to sleeping neighbours.
Letting your pet out onto the hard shoulder of a motorway
If you’re travelling with your four-legged companion and you have an accident or a breakdown, you cannot let them out of the vehicle and onto the hard shoulder. They may not like being cooped up in the cabin, but it is an offence to let them out due to the risk of causing an accident. Make sure they’re also restrained correctly while you’re driving as an unruly pet can land you in trouble with the police for being a distraction to the driver.
This might sound bizarre but it’s no different to being drunk in charge of any other vehicle, even if you’re just passed out on the back seats. Unless you’re parked up in a motorhome park, it is illegal to drink in your motorhome with the keys still on your person due to the implication of potential driving – even if it is just one glass and you had no intention of driving anywhere. It’s also illegal to sleep in the back of your vehicle after a night out with keys on your person because you’re likely to be over the limit in the morning and are classed as being drunk in charge.
Not informing a taxi driver you’re feeling ill
Without a doubt the most obscure and bizarre offence on this list, but you must inform a taxi driver if you feel ill as soon as you enter the vehicle. While it sounds positively Medieval, if you are ill it is up to the driver whether he accepts your fare or not. If you don’t inform the driver of your peaky condition, there could be serious repercussions should you take a turn for the worse during the journey.
So, there you have it, ten obscure driving offences you probably weren’t even aware that you were committing. It just goes to show that not everything is as clear cut as it seems and just sticking to the speed limit doesn’t mean you’re a safe and law-abiding driver.