In celebrating all that is British, I struggled to think how I could tie the theme in with a road traffic, legal slant. Eventually, I decided to look at some of the UK driving laws that could (admittedly, at a stretch) be considered quintessentially British. So with that in mind…
Middle lane hogging
Drivers must never linger for too long, unnecessarily in the middle lane of a motorway. Failing to comply with this is not only discourteous to other road users, but may also land you with a careless driving charge, in addition to a financial penalty.
Driving too slowly
Whilst a leisurely drive may be, at times, appealing and calming, particularly when followed with a strong cup of tea at home, you must always remember not to drive too slowly on the roads. Whilst speeding is, by far, the most common UK driving offence, motoring at too leisurely a pace can be equally as dangerous and result in significant financial penalties.
Night time parking
Rule 248 of the Highway Code is quite clear and states that after dark, “a car must not be parked at the side of the road facing against the direction of traffic unless in a recognised parking space”. Why is that, you may ask? Because a car parked with the flow of the traffic will be illuminated by its rear reflectors and thus assist in reducing the number of collisions. On your own head be it if you are fined £1,000 for such a transgression.
Whilst us Brits live with rain on an almost daily basis, few things are more bothersome (or indeed terrifying) than venturing too close to a roadside puddle during a heavy downpour. Too many times have we been doused to within an inch of hypothermia after a careless motorist “unintentionally” drove through it, at speed, at the exact moment we were passing. For those motorists who enjoy participating in this, be warned, you can (and if I had anything to do with it, will) be prosecuted for “driving without reasonable consideration for other persons”, be fined £100 and receive three penalty points on your driving licence.
Motorists are urged to keep calm and carry on instead of allowing themselves to become consumed by road rage. And with a potential fine of up to £1,000 for swearing at fellow road users, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 is clear on the consequences of failing to heed this advice. Come on ladies and gents, show some decorum!
Many people like to crank up the audio system and indulge in some sub-par singing while driving, but while there’s no direct law against loud music (or being tone deaf), if it’s deemed a distraction, a £100 fine and three points could (and should) be handed out. What’s more, if you’re stationary, local authorities could slap you with a noise abatement notice. If you’re asked to turn the music down and refuse, your car could be seized.
Some drivers might also be shocked to hear that you can get into trouble for using your car’s horn. Rule 112 of the Highway Code clearly states: “Never sound your horn aggressively.” It goes on to say much more, but the gist of it is, do not use your horn and certainly do not “honk” it unnecessarily or for any other reason than to alert another motorist of your presence.
Light-heartedness aside, the UK is renowned for having one of the finest and most sophisticated legal systems in the world and this extends to the laws in place to help ensure our safety on the roads. Whilst some of these laws may seem obscure, they were all designed to keep us safe.
Motoring Defence Solicitors are road traffic lawyers specialising in drink and drug driving offences. Based out of their central London offices, they provide free advice on a range of offences to motorists nationwide. You can contact Neil Sargeant for free on 0800 433 2880 or visit the website at www.drinkdrugdriving.co.uk.