RAC Cars News


How Law-Abiding Are You Behind The Wheel?

By raccars Published

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The average British motorist takes care to follow the law by avoiding drink-driving, speeding and using a mobile phone at the wheel. Frighteningly, however, this is not enough to keep you legal, as police officers have the power to charge drivers for an extraordinary number of offences, many of which drivers may be unaware they are committing.

For example, did you know that you can be fined up to £1,000 if you are driving with a dirty number plate? In fact, driving in the UK is fraught with risk, with innocent motorists unwittingly breaking the law on a daily basis for seemingly innocuous behaviour. Flashing oncoming motorists to alert them about a police speed trap further down the road could land you in court for obstruction. You may think you are doing the right thing by pulling over to the side of the road before answering your mobile phone, but in fact you could easily earn yourself three points and a £100 fine unless you switch the engine off.

Don't bother to feel smug, either, about using a hands-free kit, because while you won't be charged for using a mobile phone, police can still charge you on the basis of being distracted or not in proper control of the vehicle. The same charge could apply to drivers browsing a satellite navigation device, applying make-up at the traffic lights or tucking into a snack behind the wheel.

Consider, too, how careful you are about not drink-driving. Even if they post a result under the legal drink-driving threshold via a breathalyser or blood test, those with a low tolerance could be at risk from a bowl of sherry trifle or the over-zealous use of an alcohol-based mouthwash, as police are at liberty to apply a charge of being unfit to drive as a result of drug or alcohol consumption. The same charge can be used against those taking to the wheel the morning after a heavy night.

So bear in mind that while you are driving that's all you should be doing. Forget refereeing arguments between kids in the back or pulling the dog back from sticking his head out of the window for a bit of fresh air, or even sneaking a quick kiss with a partner, as all these could constitute being distracted while driving.

And remember that the same rules apply to adults supervising learner drivers. They too must avoid hand-held mobiles or breaking the drink-driving limit.

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