NOT APPROVED Common Driving Misconceptions
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All of our team of the best personal injury solicitors at MG Legal have passed their own driving test, and all utilise their own vehicles on a daily basis. But, like you, we often find ourselves wondering if some of the everyday-driving-myths we hear are true. Although we don’t specialise in driving offences, our team of solicitors in Lancaster do deal with Road Traffic Accident claims, as well as compensation claims for accidents at work, slips, trips and falls, and medical negligence, so we like to make sure that we know what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to our clients in their cars.
Can I drive with my dog in the car?
The short answer is: yes. Whilst there are no laws preventing your furry friends from travelling in your car (which I really am thankful for, as I really don’t fancy carrying my pup back from the vets after she’s had an operation!), there are laws about how the pets should travel, which you can read on our blog, here. The Police have the power to charge a person with driving without due care and attention if their pooch is causing a distraction, so make sure your pet is buckled in and ready for a quiet journey …
Can I eat and drink whilst driving?
Well, our team of solicitors in Lancaster first need to clarify that when we are talking about drinking, we mean the non-alcoholic type (for all of you who got a bit excited there, thinking the law might have changed!). Whilst you can, in fact, have something to eat or take a quick swig of your water or coffee whilst driving, like with pets, if the Police feel that you are driving without due care and attention, they have the right to charge you. So, whilst it’s not illegal, it’s advisable to be careful, and only do this when you have full control of your vehicle.
Can I smoke cigarettes whilst I am driving?
Like with drinking or eating, in itself, smoking is not illegal. However, if you’re not paying attention, you could be charged with careless driving. A side note that our team of the best personal injury solicitors should point out, is that as of 1 October 2015, if you’re travelling in the car with children, it’s illegal to smoke. Full stop. You can read the RAC’s blog about the new law, here.
Can I have a light on in my car whilst driving?
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, my parents used to tell me this was illegal all the time – just so that I would turn the light off and actually go to sleep on our long car journeys. However, as I got older, I found out that this was, in fact, not the case. You can drive with a light on internally, as long as this does not cause a distraction to other drivers by being too bright, or dazzling. Like with eating, drinking and smoking, you could be found to be driving carelessly.
I need to make a phone call; can I drive and talk?
NO! If your device is hand-held, and you have no Bluetooth or other hands-free device available, you MUST NOT use your phone. This can cause you to be charged with using a mobile phone whilst driving, which could land you with six penalty points on your licence, as well as a fine of £200.00. If you cause injury or death whilst using your phone, the consequences could be even worse. If it’s hands-free, then yes, you may make your phone call, but just make sure that you don’t pick up the phone, even for a second!
Is there a 10% allowance on the speed limit?
You might have read our previous blog which mentioned the allowances on speed limits, which you can find here, but it’s worth noting that, if the county’s Police force changes their stance, or if you get caught by a road-side camera, it may be that you will get charged if you are even 1mph over the limit. So, don’t be silly, make sure you drive at the legal limit.
Can I drink alcohol in my car?
The safest way to avoid getting in trouble for this one is to avoid drinking in a car (if you are not a passenger) all the time. If you’re just sat in your car drinking, and not driving anywhere, you could still be charged for being drunk in charge of your vehicle, which could mean a fine or a driving disqualification, so don’t risk it!
I just NEED a MacDonald’s but I don’t have my card, can I pay contactless?
This is the last myth that our team of the best personal injury solicitors will attempt to de-bunk on this occasion. Many people would pay for their MacDonald’s using Apple Pay (or if you’re not an Apple user, the equivalent), but, as this means that you need to use your phone, it’s illegal. Obviously, if you turn the engine off fully, you might be okay, but even if your start-stop has activated and you’re sat there idly waiting for your burger and chips, it’s against the law.
So, we hope this has helped you to realise that not all of the things your parents may have told you are true, and that you are now aware of what you should (and should not be) doing whilst you’re driving.
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