DRIVING legally seems like an easy feat once you’ve passed your test and know what you’re doing – but you might be breaking the law without even realising it.
If you pop out for a Maccies and pay on your phone, or play loud music while doing it, you could be getting yourself in a lot of trouble.
Breaking these unusual laws could mean racking up fines into the thousands or a driving ban.
Splashing a pedestrian with a big puddle might seem hilarious from the inside of your warm car, but you’ll regret it if they decide to take revenge and report it to the police.
We all partake in a little road rage every now and then, but be careful with your hands as giving someone the finger as you overtake could come back to haunt you.
Here’s an informative list of bizarre driving laws to watch out for – don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Using your mobile phone to pay for food at a drive-thru
Paying for your McDonald’s using Apple Pay on your mobile phone could land you a £1,000 fine and a driving ban.
It doesn’t matter that you’re not on a main road, if you’re behind the wheel with the engine on, it is illegal to hold your phone in your hand.
The only way to legally use your phone in a car is to pull over and park in a safe place with the engine off and the handbrake on.
The maximum fine for this offence is £1,000 and six penalty points.
This could mean losing your licence as clocking up six points in the first two years of driving results in a ban, unlike the usual 12.
Playing loud music in a car
Going on a road trip with your mates and having a sing-a-long in the car is one of life’s joys – but be careful how loud you turn the music up.
Playing loud music in your car could lead to a warning from the police.
Local authorities have the power to take action against loud car stereos if it’s on private land or parked constantly on one street.
But if a police officer hears a car whether moving or stationary they can take action and give a warning.
Eating, drinking or doing your make-up in the car
While there is no specific law against eating, drinking or doing your make-up in the car, you could still receive a fine for doing so.
If any of these actions cause a distraction to the driver, it is classed as “careless driving” and this offence can lead to a £1,000 and three penalty points.
You must assess whether the activity will affect your ability to drive the vehicle – having a coffee from the service station probably won’t get you into too much trouble, but eating a bowl of cereal while driving could land you with a serious fine.
Splashing pedestrians by driving through a puddle
Getting splashed by a passing car always feels like the worst possible way to start your day, but it could be worse if you’re the one getting fined £5,000 for doing it.
Drivers can be given up to nine penalty points and the huge fine for the cruel move as it’s classed as “careless driving/driving without due care and consideration”.
Pedestrians can reports any instances to the police, especially if they catch the number plate – good to know that you can get revenge.
Making rude hand gestures at other drivers
Giving the guy who cut you up on the motorway the middle finger can seem like the best way to show your anger at the time, but it’ll feel all the more bitter when you’re slapped with a hefty fine.
You could end up being prosecuted for “disorderly conduct” and given a £1,000 fine.
Driving while wearing flip flops
While this isn’t illegal in itself, wearing flip flops could lead to a careless driving charge if they impede your ability to drive safely.
Under Rule 97 of the Highway Code, drivers are advised they must have “footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”.
Careless driving carries a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points, but in more serious cases a maximum of £5,000 and nine penalty points can be given.
Using a phone in the passenger’s seat of the car
Everyone knows the driver can’t use their phone while driving a car, but not many know that using a phone in the passenger’s seat of a car can lead to serious punishment.
If you’re supervising a learner driver from the passenger’s seat, you are liable to the same punishments for using a mobile as if you were driving the car.
Breaking this law can lead to a £200 fine and six points on your licence.
Sleeping while drunk in your car
Even if you have no intention of drink-driving, sleeping drunk in your car, even with the engine switched off, is classed as being “in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle [when] unfit to do so through drink or drugs”.
The penalty for this is 10 points on your licence, plus a possible stint in prison and a 12-month driving ban.
The best way out of this law is if you put your keys somewhere out of reach or outside of the car so that it’s clear to the police you had no intention of driving the vehicle while drunk.
Using an unfixed mobile phone as a sat nav
Tougher mobile phone laws were introduced last year which means you can no longer use your mobile phone as a sat nav unless it is fixed.
It must be in a cradle attached to the car with the route programmed before you set off, otherwise you could face a £200 fine and six points on your licence.
Beeping your horn unnecessarily
Contrary to common belief, honking the horn of your car is only legal if the car is moving and you’re alerting another driver to your presence.
Using your horn in stationary traffic, “aggressively” or “without reasonable intention” can lead to a £1,000 fine.
Rule 112 of the Highway code also says that you must not use your horn “when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30pm and 7.00am.”
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