Is driving barefoot really illegal and what about eating at the wheel? Find out here

Driving in the UK can be a complicated matter and trying to keep track of the numerous laws can be confusing work.

Do you know the UK’s driving laws?

We’ve got everything you need to know about some of the UK’s less obvious driving queries and laws, so you can avoid penalties while on the road…


Can you drive barefoot or in flip-flops?

Currently, there is no legislation in place that requires motorists in the UK to wear appropriate shoes for driving.

However, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) states ‘suitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel.’

In the case of driving without shoes, the DVSA has said ‘We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don’t have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on.’


Is it illegal to eat or drink soft-drinks while driving?

While not illegal, it’s highly unadvisable. You can however, be charged with careless driving if the police deem that you do not have proper control of your vehicle.


Is it illegal to smoke while driving?

You can smoke while driving if no one under the age of 18 is a passenger in the car. However, the driver will also be fined even if a passenger is smoking while a child is present is the car – both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50.

You can find out all the essential information for the 105 smoking ban here, including the rules for smoking in a convertible.


Is it illegal to sleep in your car?

Sleeping in your car is illegal if you’re over the drink driving limit.

You could also land yourself in trouble for parking in restricted areas where overnight stays are illegal.


Is it illegal to drive with snow on your car?

If you’re driving in adverse weather conditions you must, by law, be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle, according to The Highway Code.

This means, at the very least by law, you must clear snow from all of your windows.

Although it’s not illegal to drive with snow on the roof of your car, if that snow falls off and causes you to have an accident or it causes an accident or damage, you could be penalised for driving without due consideration.


Splashing pedestrians with puddles?

The UK sees its fair share of rain, so you’re never too far from a puddle. But did you know you can get a fixed penalty notice for splashing pedestrians by driving through puddles at speed? Find out more here.


Honking your horn in anger?

It’s easy to get annoyed while navigating the UK’s road, with ignorant drivers around every corner it can be satisfying to angrily honk your horn, but by doing so you’re breaking the law.  You also can’t sound your horn between 23:30-07:00 unless in an emergency situation.

You can only use your horn to warn other drivers of your presence.

Find out the bad road behaviours that British motorists hate here.


Having a dirty number plate?

If police think your number plate is obscured by grime, you could be hit with an on the spot fine of £50 or taken to court, where you could be fined up to £1,000.


Driving with a ‘valid’ MOT?

UK motorists are putting their car in for an MOT early to find out if any faults need repairing, believing that they can still drive the vehicle until the previous MOT expires.

However, if their car fails it is instantly recorded as no longer road legal. This applies regardless of how long the old MOT’s validity has left.


Parking on the pavement in London?

In the capital, parking on a pavement could see you hit with a £70 fine.


Flashing headlights to warn motorists about speed cameras/traps?

Although some drivers may consider it to be harmless good manners, flashing your lights to warn fellow motorists about speed traps and see you hit with a minimum fine of £30. It’s considered an act of obstructing an officer’s duty and the fine can stretch up to £1,000.


Driving too slowly?

It’s not just driving too fast that will get you in trouble, driving too slowly is a hazard to other drivers and could be punished with anything from a verbal warning to nine points on your licence.


Swearing at other drivers?

Making obscene gestures or swearing at other motorists is classed at disorderly behaviour and could result in a fine equal to 75 per cent of your weekly income.


Using a loose sat-nav?

If you’re using a sat-nav or your phone for navigation but don’t fix it to the dashboard or windscreen, you could be given a fine of £200 and up to six points on your licence.


Allowing passengers to cradle babies?

Under new child safety laws, babies must stay in child seats. If a passenger holds a baby in their arms while you drive, you could see a fine of £100.


Resting on the hard shoulder?

Pulling up on the hard shoulder for anything other than an emergency is an offence that carries a fine of £100 and three points.


Letting animals out of the car while broken-down on the hard shoulder?

According to the Highway Code, animals must remain inside a broken-down vehicle when stranded on the hard shoulder.

You should only consider letting them out if it’s an emergency – if an accident is caused by your animal, you could face a hefty fine.


Parking on the wrong side of the road at night?

This is a driving offence under rule 248 of the Highway Code and could leave you with a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice).

The reason you should not park on the wrong side of the road at night is because of the risks of dazzling other drivers.


Driving a van more than 50mph on a single carriageway road?

Vans that aren’t car-derived must not exceed:

50mph on single carriageways

60mph on dual carriageways

70 mph on motorways


Parking within 10 metres of a junction?

If you park too close to a junction, not only are you putting other drivers in danger, you also risk receiving a fine.


It is illegal to drive with headphones on?

Although there is no specific law that states you can’t drive wearing headphones, a police officer could still charge you with driving without due care and attention, if they believe the headphones are distracting you.


It is illegal to have open alcohol in your car?

Motorists are permitted to have open alcohol in their cars, but are heavily discouraged from drinking while driving.

Laws about alcohol and driving are only specific to the driver being under the legal blood alcohol limit. However, road users can be done for drinking alcohol in a car while supervising a learner driver.

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