There are countless truths and myths as to what is legal when driving in the UK. Most people have different views on what is and isn’t an offence. UK DPF is hoping to address a few of the more questionable rules of the road.

Can I drive in flip-flops or slides?

The answer to this is yes, it is not illegal to drive in the UK with either slip-on shoes or no footwear at all. However, if for any reason you are stopped by the police or have an accident there may be questions asked as to whether your footwear allows or allowed you adequate control of the pedals. The Highway code stipulates that you must wear appropriate clothing and footwear that will not prevent you from using the controls. You could be seen as driving without due care and attention, which may lead to a fine and points added to your licence. To ensure the safety of you and your passengers, it is advisable to wear appropriate footwear.

Can I wear headphones behind the wheel?

There is no law that says that headphones are illegal whilst driving, but you could be stopped by the police if you are wearing headphones. An officer is likely to point out that you are driving without due care and attention, the reason being that you would be unaware of any sounds around you, and this could prove very dangerous. The same goes for playing excessively loud music in your vehicle. You could incur a fine and points on your licence.

Is it illegal to splash a pedestrian when going through a puddle?

Yes, it absolutely is! If you have ever been on the pavement and been splashed by a vehicle you will understand how unpleasant this is. It is therefore a criminal act under the category of “Driving without reasonable consideration for others”. There is the possibility of a £100-£5,000 fine together with three penalty points added to your licence.

Sounding the horn

The Highway Code states that the horn should not be used ‘aggressively’ or ‘in stationary traffic’. It should only be used when appropriate to prevent an accident. So, when you get wound up at the idiot in front of you, think carefully before honking them as it could land you a hefty fine of £1,000.

Road Rage

Road rage is dangerous, being abusive either verbally or using rude hand gestures is considered an offence under the Crime & Disorder Act 1998. Along with tailgating, pushing into queues of traffic or failing to give way reasonably are all punishable with a fine of up to £1,000 and 3 points on your licence. So, take a moment, keep calm and let it go.

Speed Trap Buddy

You may think you are being ‘nice’ flashing other drivers to warn them about speed traps, however, your supposed kindness can land you in hot water as you are obstructing the police in their duty and can earn you a fine of between £30 and £1,000.

Driving too slowly

Driving excessively under the speed limit is dangerous to other road users, a slow driver can create hazards for other vehicles around them who are adhering to the proper speed limit. It is considered “Driving without reasonable consideration to other motorists” and can incur points and a fine.

Can I drive at night with the interior light on?

It is not illegal to drive with an interior light on at night, it can cause some glare and be distracting to the driver and therefore is unadvisable for safety reasons.

Driving whilst eating or drinking?

There is no actual law preventing you from drinking or eating behind the wheel, although a police officer may consider that you are not in complete control whilst only using one hand and suggest you are “Driving without due care and attention”. Therefore, it is a good idea to perhaps park up safely before having your lunch.

Can I drive with my furry friend in the front seat?

Does your dog love to stick his head out of the car window and flap his ears in the breeze? That’s all good if he is restrained with a suitable seatbelt harness. It is a legal requirement for pets to be restrained both in the front and back of the vehicle, not doing so will risk incurring a £5,000 fine and up to 9 points on your licences! A pet carrier or caged rear of the vehicle are other options to protect you, your passengers and your beloved pet.

Can I program the sat nav whilst driving?

A sat nav should be set up before commencing your journey, the unit should be fixed in your vehicle and should not be touched whilst driving or stationary in traffic. The penalties are the same as applies to using mobile phones whilst driving. Breaking the law will cost you £200 and 6 penalty points. If you have held your licence for under 2 years you will be disqualified from driving.

Dirty number plates

Our number plate is something we give little thought to, but be aware that if it is muddy or grimy from road spray and cannot be read, you could land a fine of up to £2,500. The increased use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) being used on both the roads and private car parks have made it a necessary requirement to always have a legible plate.