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Motoring Myth-Busting: Things You Might Not Realise Are Illegal To Do In Your Car

Driving on Britain’s roads means you need to obey regulations — that’s a given. But, there are some motoring rules you may not be familiar with.

Don’t get distracted in your car, it could get you into trouble. Many drivers may unintentionally do unlawful things. So, let’s examine a few of the lesser-known rules of the road because, harsh though it sounds, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Is it unlawful to eat and drink while motoring? It is not against the law to snack or swig while at the wheel. But, if you get side-tracked while munching a sandwich or sipping a bottle of pop on the move, the police could take legal action against you. This will most likely be for careless driving if it’s believed you’re not in proper control of your car. If you’re prosecuted for this, expect to get three penalty points and a fine.

Is paying with your phone at a drive-thru or fuel station illegal? If you’re peckish and you only have time to stop at a fast-food joint, then be mindful of how you pay if you’re using the “drive-thru”. If your engine is running and you’re caught paying with your phone at the wheel, you run the risk of getting a fine. The same is true at fuel pumps because, technically, you’re breaking the law by using a mobile phone while driving. This could cost you loads more than a box of chicken nuggets — and far beyond what you shell out to top up your tank. We’re talking six penalty points and a £1,000 rap on the knuckles.

Is driving with a dirty windscreen or registration plate illegal? If you think the last penalty was drastic, then think again. Simply driving with a mucky windscreen could see your bank balance shrink by £5,000. Even worse, you could be on your way to losing your licence altogether — because the grimy windscreen could also get you nine penalty points. If you already have three points, then that means you’re off the road. And while the body of your car can be as unwashed as you want it to be, make sure you keep your registration plates spotless. An unreadable plate could land you with a £1000 levy. The police want to be able to read your car’s registration — as do the UK’s Automatic Number Plate.

Is driving too slowly against the law? Motorists who drive slowly are sometimes known as “Sunday Drivers”. While that term may seem unnecessary, moving along at a snail’s pace can potentially be as hazardous as speeding. If the police reckon you’re going too slowly, you could be pulled and given a verbal warning. But worse might happen — your licence could have nine points added to it, depending on how much danger your measured motoring puts other road users in.

What about driving with pets? Surely that’s not illegal? Motoring with your pup or kitty could land you in hot water — if you haven’t secured your furry companion appropriately. If seen by the cops, you could be ticketed for distracted driving. This carries a fine and three penalty points. Depending on the situation, you could even end up in court and get up to nine points and a £5,000 bill.

Is using a smartphone as a sat-nav okay? It is okay to use your phone’s navigation apps when you’re driving, as long as you secure your smartphone properly. If it’s not in a hands-free holder, you risk getting three points on your licence — and a fine. Furthermore, if you handle your phone at any time — even just a stroke of the screen to start the sat nav — then you face prosecution.

So, there you have it — some motoring myths busted. They’re not meant to be alarmist — they’re simply informative. After all, forewarned is forearmed.

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