Driving myths: Fact or fiction?

Even for experienced motorists there are still grey areas when it comes to motoring rules and regulations. Then there’s the hearsay and guesswork that fuels rumours and stokes confusion. But worry no longer, we’re here to dispel some of the most popular driving myths.

Myth 1 - It’s illegal to eat or drink while driving

Eating and drinking when driving

We all know the dangers and consequences of drinking alcohol when driving, but what are the laws on eating and drinking non-alcoholic drinks behind the wheel? It’s not actually illegal to eat or drink soft beverages when driving but, when doing so, if your driving becomes careless or presents a significant danger in the eyes of the police, then you could still be prosecuted.

Myth 2 - It’s illegal to smoke when you’re driving

smoking when driving

Rule 148 of the Highway Code states that distractions such as smoking should be avoided when driving. As with eating and drinking, it’s not a specific offence to smoke while driving, but if it results in poor driving or reduced care and attention then a charge of careless or even dangerous driving could be a possibility.

Myth 3 - You can’t operate a SatNav when you’re driving

satnav while driving

This is an interesting one. Obviously, SatNavs are designed to make our lives as motorists easier but operating them when you are driving clearly has the potential to hinder your concentration on the road ahead. The use of SatNavs while driving can be compared to using a mobile phone hands-free kit, in that you should make sure that you always remain in full control of the vehicle. If you’re operating a SatNav system at the expense of the control of your vehicle then you can be stopped and penalised.

Myth 4 – Working speed cameras always flash

gatso speed camera

There are many different types of speed cameras used in the UK, and not all of them use traditional photography – so don’t assume you’ve not been recorded if there’s no flash. The famous Gatso camera, which employs radar and/or sensors in the road to detect a vehicle’s speed, uses a flash, but there are many others that don’t. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you stick to the speed limit this shouldn’t be an issue.

Myth 5 - Driving without shoes is illegal

barefoot driving

It is widely rumoured that it is an offence to drive barefoot – it’s not. If you feel like driving without shoes, there’s nothing to stop you. That said, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) strongly recommends that suitable footwear is worn while driving. The DSA also advises that high-heels and flip-flops should not be worn when driving as footwear such as this could compromise your control of the vehicle. Driving safely and efficiently often comes down to using your common sense. If you are doing something that in any way jeopardises the control you have over your car, or the attention that you pay to the road in front of you, then you could be guilty of careless driving. Remember, if you’re in any doubt, refer to the Highway Code!

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