Drivers will be aware of the obvious things that could land you with a fine if you’re doing them whilst behind the wheel, for example,using your mobile phone, driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and tailgating are some of the most common offences which motorists know are illegal.
However, there are a few things which might land you in hot water with the law that you didn’t know were illegal. Parkland Motors has put together a list of five driving offences to be wary of for future journeys.
Ashley Johnson, Sales Manager at Parkland Motors, said: “We’re making drivers aware of offences that people might not know are illegal as many of them are simple to avoid. Drivers could face fines of up to £5,000 for some of these offences, making it important to know the law.
“Being fined for doing something behind the wheel that you didn’t know was illegal is a situation no one wants to be in. Fortunately, we are here to educate with a few scenarios which carry fines should you be caught doing them.”
1. Using your phone for navigation if it’s not fixed to a surface
Many of us rely on our phones for the maps feature to get us out and about, especially in unfamiliar areas. However, you should only be doing this if your phone is either fixed to your windscreen or dashboard in a holder device where you can clearly see it and it’s not distracting you whilst driving. Ashley warns that if you’re looking at your phone for navigation in your lap or in the centre console between the passenger seat and driver’s seat, for example, you could face a fine of up to £200 and six points on your licence.
2. Splashing a pedestrian with a puddle
Driving through a puddle at a speed which means a pedestrian is splashed with the rain water comes with £100 fixed penalty notice and three penalty points if caught by police due to driving “without reasonable consideration for other persons.”
In extreme cases, careless motorists considered driving in a manner that “amounts to a clear act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience, and aggressiveness” could see fines of a maximum £5,000.
Ashley says: “To avoid this hefty fine, decrease your speed as you approach the puddle in order to not create a huge splash for unsuspecting pedestrians at the roadside. Driving around the puddle is also an option – after you’ve checked your mirrors and it’s safe to do so, of course.”
3. Sounding the horn out of road rage
Many drivers are guilty of laying on the car horn after being cut up at a roundabout or finding themselves driving behind someone travelling 30mph in a 60mph zone, but its common occurrence doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable. People sounding the horn out of aggression could be fined £30 and Parkland Motors is reminding people the correct way a horn should be used.
“The horn should only be sounded to alert other drivers of your presence”, says Ashley, “and it should never be sounded between 11:30pm and 7:00am on a road with street lights and a speed limit of 30mph.”
4. Driving too slowly
Driving too slowly can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. Drivers travelling at half the speed limit just after a blind bend, for example, could easily be driven into the back of by drivers travelling faster. Whilst there is no minimum speed on the roads that drivers should be aware of, it is common sense to not drive in such a slow manner that it’s dangerous for other drivers.
The maximum penalty for driving too slowly could be as much as nine points on your licence and an unlimited fine.
5. Having a dirty number plate
We all neglect washing our cars from time to time but leaving it so long that the dirt is making your licence plate almost unreadable is a criminal offence. Why it may be accidental, a dirty number plate is hard to be seen by police officers and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, which it is required to be.
Ashley says: “Now the bad weather season is upon us, it’s easy for cars to get dirty very quickly so we advise checking your number plate often and giving it a wipe if it’s hard to read.
“The good news about all five of these situations which you can be fined for is that they are all easily avoidable simply by being aware. For a situation that might seem small, the dangers are much bigger so it’s vital to be educated no matter how long you’ve been driving for”.