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28 August, 2020

10 times you didn’t know you were committing a driving offence

A large portion of driving offences are widely known and clearly defined, such as drink driving, speeding and using your mobile phone whilst at the wheel.

However, there are some that aren’t as well known that you could be committing without even realising. Here at 10 driving offences that you might have been completely unaware of.

1. Paying with your phone at a drive-through

How could paying with your phone at a drive-through possibly be an offence? Well technically you’re using your phone whilst driving, and there’s been a real crackdown on mobile phone usage behind the wheel. So if you need to pay with your phone, turn your engine off and apply your handbrake!

2. Flashing your lights to give way

The flashing of headlights is allowed, but only for the purpose of letting another driver know of their presence. Therefore flashing your headlights to give way is technically an offence and can lead to a minimum fine of £30.

3. Splashing a pedestrian with rainwater

Splashing a pedestrian with rainwater as you drive past is actually a driving offence. It is illegal to drive “without reasonable consideration for other persons”, including “driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed” as per the Road Traffic Act 1988. So be careful the next time you’re driving past pedestrians on a rainy day or you could land yourself a fine of up to £5,000.

4. Using your mobile phone as a sat nav in an unfixed position

Many drivers now use their mobile phones as sat navs whilst driving, but this can actually be illegal and lead to a £200 fine and 6 points on your license as per mobile phone laws. In order to avoid this, your mobile phone must be fixed to your windscreen or dashboard, in clear sight as you drive.

5. Dirty number plate

This is one that catches out a lot of drivers and can be easily prevented. It’s required that your registration plate is visible at all times, so if your plate is dirty and preventing just one digit from being clearly visible, you can be given a fine of up to £1,000. Check your number plates are clean before you set off to make sure you don’t get caught out by this one!

6. Parking on the wrong side of the road at night

You can not park on a road at night with your car facing against the direction of traffic as per rule 248 of the Highway Code. This is due to the risk of dazzling other drivers with your headlights as you park and leave as well as your rear light reflectors being covered when you leave your car.

7. Towing an uninsured vehicle

Driving an uninsured vehicle is an offence that’s widely known by motorists, but what about towing an uninsured vehicle? As you may have guessed, towing an uninsured vehicle is also a driving offence. Just because the vehicle is broken down, it doesn’t stop being a vehicle that needs to be insured.

8. Using the horn between 11.30pm and 7am in a built-up area

Although many of us probably think of this as general etiquette to not disturb people whilst they’re sleeping, it’s actually a driving offence. Whilst unlikely to be charged by a police officer if caught, it’s still technically a driving offence that you should be aware of.

9. Picking children up outside of school

Parking too close to a school or anywhere that can prevent access for emergency services is stated as a driving offence by rule 243 of the Highway Code. The areas that are parking restricted are usually indicated with yellow zig-zag lines, so use these as a guide.

10. Sleeping in your car after a few drinks

If you’ve had a drink, you’re quite right in not attempting to drive home. But if you thought that sleeping in your car was a good alternative, it’ll open you up to receiving a drunk in charge fine. Even being in the backseat with your keys out of the ignition, you can be fined for being ‘in charge’ of a vehicle whilst inebriated.

It’s unusual to see fines and penalties for any of the above but not impossible, so better to be safe than sorry, right!