March 20th, 2020 at 7:33 am
When you’ve been behind the wheel for years, it can be all-too-easy to lose touch with the latest regulations and rules regarding road traffic. This refresher articles will bring you up to date with the latest laws so you don’t fall foul of them.
Excessively Slow Driving
If you’re a recently qualified driver, you’ll remember your driving instructor constantly reminding you to stay at the right speed for the road’s limit as long as the conditions made it safe. The UK’s most common driving offence is speeding tickets, with more than 2,00,000 issued every year, however you may not know that excessively slow driving is an offence too! Everybody knows just how frustrated you can get when you’re stuck behind vehicles that are moving slowly without any obvious reason. Therefore, it isn’t too surprising to discover that if you drive too slow in some circumstances you could be fined £100 on the spot and given 3 penalty points.
Dual carriageways and motorways are one specific trouble spot. The road surface, camber and road lighting should allow driving at an appropriate speed to be perfectly safe as long as the weather is good. It’s more understandable that drivers will drive more slowly on a winding country road with adverse camber as well as farm traffic, but if you’re crawling along on the motorway you’re at risk of driving without the required attention and care and could be fined £5,000. You could also get 9 penalty points.
When you’re driving too slowly, police offers are naturally suspicious. It sometimes mean that driver isn’t well, is using their smartphone or is experiencing another problem that means they can’t concentrate properly on the road.
Most drivers know that there are some medical problems that the DVLA need to be informed about since they can affect their licence. However, there is a surprisingly long list of conditions which the DVLA requires you to disclose to them. You can’t depend on your doctor to tell you to call the DVLA, so make sure you’re properly informed.
For example, if you’ve had a Caesarean, you’ll be banned from driving for 6 weeks unless your GP says you’re safe to drive earlier. Eating disorders are also on this list and, bizarrely, so is déjà vu! If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition, it makes sense to call the DVLA to check whether they need to know about your problem, whether it’s permanent or temporary. If you experience an accident when you have an undisclosed medical condition you could end up with insurance cover issues and may even be prosecuted. Information is available online that can offer you guidance, but if you’ve received a diagnosis you may want to clarify your position with the DVLA.
Keeping Pets Unrestrained In The Car
These days, we don’t tend to see as many cars on the roads with a dog hanging their head out of its window, but it does still happen. The Highway Code’s Rule 57 states that animals have to be restrained properly when travelling in a car so they’re unable to freely move around causing distractions for the driver. Offending motorists can be fined £1,000 and can receive penalty points too. If a driver is involved in an accident due to distractions caused by an animal that is unrestrained in the car, they could end up in court and get a fine as high as £5000 as well as 9 penalty points.
It’s easy to restrain dogs in an estate car or hatchback boot by using dog guards, canine crates or seats fitted with a seatbelt and harness combination. Remember that if your dog is unrestrained they too could be injured if you have to brake sharply while driving.
If you have to pull onto the motorway’s hard shoulder it’s illegal to take your animal out of your car for any purpose unless it’s an emergency. Animals aren’t allowed to leave your car while it’s on a motorway. Therefore, if you’re taking your pet on long journeys you’ll have to come off the road and go to the services so it can have a walk and go to the toilet.
Using A Smartphone At A Drive-Through
Strict laws were introduced by the UK’s government in 2017 about hand-held phones when driving. Further reviews are expected in 2020 as the latest technology is advancing.
At the present time, it’s illegal to use or hold a hand-held sat nav or phone while driving. Any hands-free device needs to be fully set up and ready to use before starting up the engine. This law continues to apply even when you’re in a queue of traffic or stationary at the traffic lights.
If you use your smartphone to make payment when going through the drive-though, this could be a contravention of the law since your car engine usually is still running. It’s only legal to use your phone when your car engine is turned off and its handbrake is on. This is something that rarely occurs in the McDonald’s queue! Since the penalty is a hefty £200 fine and 6 penalty points, it’s something to remember.
If you’ve been driving for a long time, you should probably check online motoring forums or motoring magazines to stay up-to-date with the latest legal changes, especially when it comes to technology regarding mobile phones.