Everyone who has a car tends to think they are certain of the road rules of the UK – often to such an extent that they don’t feel the need to actually abide by them or study up on them after they pass their theory test as part of their driving license. But the driving laws of the UK are actually quite complex and few who think they understand them fully actually do.
There are many myths about road laws that are firmly lodged in the minds of UK drivers, which actually have remarkably little basis in legal reality when you look into them closely.
All this is not to say that drivers in the UK are dangerous as such … but it may be best to check your breakdown cover just in case, as you never know what other people are going to do on the road! It will also be important to check your breakdown cover if you happen to be one of those myth-ingrained drivers. Ensure that you have competitive, comprehensive breakdown cover to keep yourself protected against the risks of the road.
There are just so many laws and regulations that drivers forget, don’t understand, or simply don’t know about in the first place. The worrying thing is that very many of these are put in place to protect drivers, as well as all those around them. Such laws are ignored or misunderstood at great risk.
Mobile phones can’t be used when the car is stationary but running!
One of the most misunderstood – or perhaps unknown – areas of road law relates to mobile phones, perhaps because this area of motoring law is a relatively recent development. The mobile phone has only really commercially exploded in the 90s, so it has been around as something we take for granted for less than 25 years. Most people are now coming to understand that talking on a hand-held phone whilst driving is absolutely illegal, but this hasn’t always been the case.
The road rule that nobody seems to know about, however, is that it is also utterly illegal to talk on a hand-held mobile phone when stationary as well which can be surprising to quite a few people. Even if you are waiting in an enormous, apparently completely stationary queue, the use of a hand-held mobile phone is not allowed as you are still classified in the eyes of the law as operating the vehicle.
It is much too likely to lead to continued use while moving. A simple solution to this problem is to only use a hands-free headset while driving. Even these, though legal, are considered slightly dangerous because they are a distraction from driving. The most direct solution is to attempt to use your mobile as little as possible while driving.
You probably shouldn’t sleep in your car if you’re drunk
Continuing with the idea of “operating” the vehicle, if you park up and fall asleep at the wheel of your car, or even stumble into your car whilst drunk with no intention of driving, it’s probably safest if you either a) sleep in the back, side passenger seat or b) remove the keys from the ignition to show no driving intent. Of course, there are stories of this being relaxed if the Weather is perilously cold and you need warmth to survive but generally speaking, pack a blanket and don’t risk it!
Ultimately the choice is in your hands – do you take the risk of getting stopped and potentially arrested or do you err on the side of caution and stick to the rule book, however obscure those rules are?
What little known driving rules are you aware of that perhaps many of us aren’t? Do let me know in the comments below.
This is a collaborative post – to find out what this means see my disclosure.