There are some things that you might be doing all the time that are actually offences that can add points to your licence. We take a look at common habits that you probably shouldn't be doing.
The first of these habits is eating a sandwich. Okay, you might be late for work and you’re catching up on your missed breakfast, but eating in your car is classed as a distraction that takes your focus away from the road. This includes eating of any kind, and drinking.
This isn’t a minor offence either. If you’re caught eating or drinking while driving, you’re looking at between three and nine points on your licence. So, next time you set out, make sure you’re fully fed and watered first.
Technically this is a bit of a grey area, as there is no specific law that prevents you from eating/drinking whilst driving, therefore the act itself, is technically not illegal. However, don’t see this as a green light! It’s entirely down to the Police Officer’s discretion as to whether they think your actions are impairing your driving. If they are, prepare to be charged with careless driving with the previously mentioned penalty coming your way!
Another one that doesn’t seem to make sense at first is driving too slowly. Yes, if you’re out for a lazy Sunday drive, you could end up being in trouble with the police. The reason is because a driver could be travelling at 60mph down a national speed limit road and have to brake hard and possibly swerve to avoid you.
This is actually classed as inconsiderate driving by the police and accounts for more than 140 accidents per year. So, what would be the cost of driving too slow? A whopping nine points and an unlimited fine.
If you’re seen driving far too slowly, you may be pulled over on suspicion you’re driving under the influence of alcohol as this is a tell-tale sign – but once it’s clear you’re not and you’re just being overly-cautious, the most likely outcome will be a verbal warning from the Officer. However if your actions are judged to be quite severe and you’re putting other motorists in danger, you can be charged with ‘driving without due care and attention’, which carries up to 9 penalty points and a maximum £2,500 fine. This is extremely unlikely however, unless the officer deems your actions to justify such a punishment!
Driving through puddles might appear, at first, to be a fun thought. You get to enjoy the splashing sound as you tear through the big ones while shouting ‘Wahoooo’ at the top of your voice. Not so fun for the person stood on the pavement who just got a drenching.
If you splash a pedestrian by driving through a puddle, believe it or not you could be fined up to a whopping £5,000! It relates to the ‘Driving without reasonable consideration for others’ law. However, on the spot it will most likely be a £100 fine and 3 penalty points – if it goes to court you could be slapped the maximum £5,000 as well as a ban.
If you’re driving too close to a car, bicycle or motorcyclists, you’re tailgating and driving carelessly. It’s pretty annoying when you’re the victim as well, when you look in your rearview mirror to see a car bumper-to-bumper and it puts you on edge.
That’s why it’s an offence to drive too close to a horse as well. Although you’re classed as being too close to the horse rider, you’re actually too close to the horse as well. Horses can only see to the sides, and when they’re being ridden on the roads, they wear blinkers that restrict their view. A car being too close to them is classed as driving without care or attention as it could spook the horse and make it bolt.
If you’re caught horsing around (sorry), then you’re looking at three to nine points on your licence as well as a hefty four-figure fine.
Lastly, if you’re taking prescription medication, you may be breaking the law when you get in your car and drive off. Driving under the influence of illegal drugs is clearly unlawful, but if you’re taking prescription medication it may be worth checking with your GP if you should be walking home or taking public transport.
The Highway Code actually states that you shouldn’t drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. That could potentially include cough medicine or some painkillers you’ve been given for your sore neck. We’ve saved the worst punishment ’til last. If you’re caught under the influence of medication that is impairing your driving, you could face a one year driving ban, six months in prison, an unlimited fine, a permanent criminal record, and the ridicule of your friends and family when they ask you why you’re being convicted and you say, “I had a sore throat.”
If you can’t put up with your sniffle, check with your doctor if you’re okay to be driving.