Even if you think you’re following the law and being careful while out driving, there are a couple of fatal mistakes you might be making without even realising it. Some of these can even take place before you get behind the wheel and can have a negative effect on your insurance premiums.
Before you get in the car
First of all, if you’re on any medication you will need to take this into account. Driving while taking prescription drugs can be considered a danger if they impair your driving. You could well then be prosecuted.
Also, you should check the cleanliness of your car, as having a dirty registration plate could cost you £1000 if it obscures the details.
Interaction with other drivers
Even from the seemingly untouchable confines of your car, you need to be mindful of your actions when behind the wheel. Despite thinking you’re actually being good and helpful warning other drivers of speed cameras on the road, you could earn yourself a £500 for doing so.
Alternatively, if you are caught making hand gestures or using abusive language towards other drivers, you might think it’s not threatening but the law can look upon it as careless or dangerous driving.
Did you know that you should never beep your horn while stationary, unless you’re warning another moving car of danger – or you will be breaking the law? And beeping your horn after 11.30pm or before 7am is a no-no as well, as both of these incidents are classed as causing a distraction – as is playing your music loudly, especially if your windows are down.
Some offences could be what you consider the ‘safer’ version of a well-known offence. For example, you might think you’re being a responsible driver by pulling over to take a call rather than using your phone while driving – and therefore, you wouldn’t realise that you may still be considered to be ‘driving’ if the engine is still running, despite having pulled over.
Thereby, you can still be considered to be breaking the law. However, if you take five minutes and park the car properly, turning the engine off – or use a hands-free device, then you’ll be fine.
Multi-tasking while driving, meanwhile, can sometimes be viewed as only momentarily distracting you for a split second, so therefore not truly a distraction. Some may even consider it a bit of a skill when in a rush, to juggle eating, drinking or putting your make up on while driving, but this could be viewed by the police as careless driving.
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As a driver, you’re technically held responsible for the rest of your passengers – including any children. Even if you’re soothing a child for just a minute by sitting them on your knee or holding them in your arms, this is effectively classed as breaking the law.
Any child under 12 or beneath 135cm tall in your arms instead of the required in a car or booster seat is considered not being safely in your car while in the vehicle, so is a driving offence. Travelling in a taxi is the only exception.