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The Top Five: Driving Laws That You Didn’t Know You Were Breaking

We all do our best to make sure that we stay on the right side of the law and driving is no exception. Aside from the fact that sticking to the law could help to keep you and other road users safe, if you get caught defying driving and road use laws, you could end up with a fine, points on your licence, or even a ban.

Here are five handpicked laws that you might not know about.

  1. Parking on the wrong side of the road at night. You may think that it’s illegal to drive on the wrong side of the road at night as you are obstructing the oncoming traffic. In fact, the real reason is that when you switch on your lights to manoeuvre in or out of the space, you could dazzle the oncoming traffic and cause an accident. If the only space is on the opposite side of the road, find somewhere to turn around so that you can stay on the right side of the road – and the law.
  2. Flashing your lights to give way to another road user. Most drivers have done, or routinely still do, this. Many of us think that it’s a good thing to do: after all, letting a driver go, or a pedestrian cross the road is a lovely demonstration of road manners. The law sees it a little differently. You should only flash your lights to WARN another road user of potential dangers or hazards. By flashing someone to proceed, you are telling them it is safe; if an accident is caused as a result, technically that accident could be your fault. This driving habit could be hard to break, but be aware that not all people will take it the same way as you.
  3. A drunken snooze in the car. If you have had too many drinks to drive, you may think that it is a good idea to sleep it off in your car. However, if you are in the car with keys and you are over the limit, you could still be fined for drunk driving. If in doubt, get a taxi (or just don’t drink).
  4. Getting your pet out of your broken down car. If you are stuck on a hard shoulder, the rules are clear: you must NOT let your pet out of the car. This is because they could bolt into the road and cause a more serious accident. Unless your pet will be in serious danger if left in the car, you must leave them until you are taken to safety.
  5. Parking within ten metres of a junction – regardless of whether there are lines – causes a hazard. Even with hazard lights on, a strict traffic enforcement officer won’t take it lightly; your best bet is to find somewhere else to park.

If you are new to the UK, if you haven’t driven for a while, or if you passed your driving test a few years ago and could do with brushing up on the rules, get in touch with a local driving instructor for a refresher course – this could boost your confidence and even reduce your insurance premium.

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