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Driving Offences You Probably Didn't Know Were Illegal.
Wednesday, 26 June 2019 at 12:24
Most driving offences are clearly defined. If you drive faster than the speed limit, you’re breaking the law. If you cross a solid white line to overtake another car, it's an offence.
But there are other driving offences you didn’t know were illegal – some of us may regularly commit them without even realising.
- Sleeping while drunk in your car
If you’ve had too much to drink, you quite rightly won’t consider driving.
But if you’ve got nowhere else to stay, you might decide to sleep in your car instead, at least until you’ve sobered up.
However, in doing so, you could leave yourself open to a drunk in charge fine.
The law states that those in charge of a motor vehicle should not be inebriated. This is not very clear, while you could argue that being asleep means you are not necessarily ‘in charge’ of the vehicle, the police can (and have) used this as an excuse to charge people with a driving offence.
- Flashing your lights to give way
Many of us will commonly use them to allow other drivers through gaps, but this technically could be considered a driving offence if an accident resulted from it.
Headlight flashes should only be used to warn drivers of your presence on the road.
- Overtaking at a pedestrian crossing
Approaching a pedestrian crossing? Is there a car already waiting there? If the lights then change to green, do not pass the stationary car – this is illegal.
You must not overtake the car nearest to the pedestrian crossing as the vehicle may be concealing a pedestrian already on the crossing.
- Letting animals out of the car while broken-down on the hard shoulder
Only in an emergency should you consider letting them out – if you don’t and an accident is caused by your animal on the hard shoulder, you could face a driving offence charge.
- Parking on the wrong side of the road at night
You should not park on the wrong side of the road at night.
This is not because you have to drive on the opposite side of the road both to enter and leave the space, actually, it’s because of the risks dazzling.
- Using your mobile phone as a sat nav in an unfixed position
In order to use smartphone navigation or a mapping app, the phone must be fixed to the windscreen or dashboard (preferably the dashboard as to not impede the driver’s view), so it’s in clear sight for use while driving, without requiring you to hold it.
- Parking within 10 metres of a junction
Parking too close to a junction means drivers approaching the junction have to steer around the car, and those turning into the junction risk driving into an unsighted car on the wrong side of the road.
- Driving on the pavement unless you’re turning into a driveway
You should not park fully or even partly on the pavement unless road signs permit it
In London, it’s an offence to park on the pavement, full stop.
This is perhaps one of the most common Highway Code rules broken and, if you’re parked in a way to inconvenience pedestrians, you’re causing a driving offence.
- Using the horn between 11.30pm and 7am in a built up area
It’s unlikely the police would charge you if caught, but it’s still a driving offence you may not be aware of.
- Driving at more than 50mph in a delivery van on a single carriageway road
This is a rule that catches many people unaware.
A delivery van that isn’t car-derived* must not exceed:
- 50mph on single carriageways
- 60mph on dual carriageways
- 70mph on motorways