Be honest, can you say for sure that you’re always a safe driver and never cut corners now and again to get to your destination quicker? Do you make sure you follow the rules every journey you make?
If your answer is yes, all we can say is don’t speak too soon, take a read through these common driving offences you may not even realise are real, then answer again!
5 Common Driving Offences
We’re always reminded of how important it is to keep within the speed limit, never drink or take drugs when planning to drive and to only ever drive when you have a full legal license. But there are many smaller rules stated in The Highway Code and in traffic laws that we’re never actually taught and if we are, often take with a pinch of salt.
If you’re still intrigued by what these offences may be, you don’t have to wait any longer, keep reading to find out!
1. Flashing Headlights
If a car flashes its light at you, you automatically think it means they’re giving way to you and as drivers, we automatically do it back to say thank you, or vice versa. So this is just us being polite, right? Wrong. This is actually seen as the incorrect use of headlights and you could see yourself faced with up to a shocking £1,000 fine.
The Highway Code states that the only time it is ever acceptable to flash your lights at another driver is to either warn them of an upcoming hazard they may not have seen or to inform them of your presence. Flashing your headlights should never be used to give a message to another driver, for example, giving way to them on a busy road. Although most of us do this every day, it is actually relatively understandable why it’s a driving offence. You can never predict how another driver may take your message, even though it’s perfectly clear to you that you’re giving way, how can you guarantee that they will receive the message correctly and not misinterpret it?
Driving on the motorway is high-speed with constant lane changes, we often see drivers flash their lights out of frustration at a slow driver lane hogging or plodding along taking their time. Flashing your lights to intimidate another driver is, in addition, a driving offence. Essentially, you’re forcing the driver to lose concentration and look elsewhere from the road, causing a potential hazard.
2. Unreadable Numberplates
There are a number of different rules regarding the topic of number plates, but one, in particular, drivers are less familiar with is the topic of cleanliness. If your number plate is unreadable due to, for example, excessive dirt or snowfall, you may see yourself with a £1,000 fine. You also run the risk of failing your MOT if you take it to the garage with a debris-covered number plate.
Even if you are in a rush or are only heading out for a 2-minute journey, always double check that your number plate is clear and readable. This may seem a hassle in the Winter when you’re driving in the snow and your vehicle is covered in snow, but you must always leave extra time to clear all snow.
If your number plate is full of dirt and you’re in a rush, you can just give it a quick wipe with a wet cloth. But if you opt for a thorough clean, carefully remove your number place, scrub with a soft brush and car wash soap, then for an extra touch and give it back its shine, add a little car polish.
3. Parking At Night
So, when it comes to parking, as long as you’re not parked on yellow lines and are not blocking an entrance or junction, surely there’s nothing else you should worry about? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Laws on parking become stricter in the evenings and at night because if a car is stationary, with no lights on, it can often be tricky to see the vehicle until your headlights reach close enough to see the reflection of the number plate. You must never park overnight facing oncoming traffic, you must always be facing the way in which you would be going if you were driving. This also means you must never be parked on the wrong side of the road overnight, you could be fined for both. If there are no spaces nearby that meet these criteria, along with the basic rules on parking, then you must look elsewhere, even if end up parking far away.
4. Driving Too Slow
Yes, as strange as it sounds, driving too slow can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. Although there is no specific law, you can still face a penalty if you are driving too slow, authorities will put it under the ‘careless driving’ category. Police officers have every right to pull you over if they believe that you are putting others at risk due to your driving ability, especially if you are pulled over for this offence on the motorway.
Driving too slowly in high-speed roads can be dangerous mainly down to the fact that it is incredibly frustrating for other drives. Drivers will become fed up and are more likely to act erratically and attempt to overtake when it is not entirely safe.
You could also be given a minor in your driving test if the examiner believes that you are unnecessarily holding up other drivers causing potential hazards. We spoke to Andy Thompson who is part of our driveJohnson’s franchise teaching driving lessons in Leeds about this topic.
“I remember a few years ago I had such an unfortunate event with one of my pupils who failed their test for driving too slow. They were a fantastic driver in lessons, so safe and confident but just completely panicked when it came to their test. They were so worried about failing or doing something wrong their examiner just gave up and gave them a major – I know, a little unfair, but it just shows how careful you have to be!”
5. Napping In Your Vehicle After Drinking
You’d be surprised about the number of people who head to the pub on a Friday evening after work, have one too many drinks, then take a nap in their car or just decide to sleep there overnight.
This is also, in fact, seen as a driving offence and you could end up with 10 points on your licence and a massive fine. The law says that you must never be in control of a vehicle over the alcohol limit, so even sleeping in your car counts!
So, Is Your Answer Still Yes?
In the beginning, we asked whether you always drive following every law, is this still your answer? It’s something to think about!