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True or false? We take a look at some of the biggest driving myths in the UK

By Stephen Turvil | January 24, 2022

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Ever wondered if eating a sandwich behind the wheel is illegal? Or can you change the radio whilst driving? Find out what you can and can't do here...

True or false? We take a look at some of the biggest driving myths in the UK

It's illegal to eat while driving: FALSE

There is no specific law that stops you eating or drinking behind the wheel. However, you must stay in complete control of the vehicle at all times. You could, for instance, be charged with careless driving if you are distracted and run a red traffic light.

Splashing pedestrians with a puddle is a criminal act: TRUE

Yes, believe it or not if a car has ever splashed you while walking down the street they're breaking the law! This act has been played out in numerous comedy sketches over the years but each time the driver is breaking a law known as ‘driving without reasonable consideration for other persons’. If convicted, drivers are given three penalty points as well as a fine from £100 to £5,000 if the case goes to court. 

You can drive 10% over the speed limit and not get caught: TRUE & FALSE

Research shows that most police forces in the UK apply a 10% tolerance, so the chances are if you went through a 30mph camera doing 33mph - you'd probably not get penalised. 

However, the 10% tolerance is by no means enshrined in law and if you're even 1mph over any speed limit you're at risk of being fined.

It's against the law to pay using your phone at a drive-thru: FALSE (with T&Cs)

Providing your engine is off and your car is stopped, you're free to pay on your phone at a drive-thru. If the engine is on, technically you're breaking the law. 

It's illegal to turn up the radio: FALSE

It is not illegal to change the volume of the stereo, pick radio stations, or make other adjustments if you stay in control of the car. But if you do not, you could be charged with careless driving.

It's legal to drive in flip flops: TRUE

It is not illegal to wear flip flops while driving. However, it is debatable whether it is sensible as they easily slide off your feet. The Highway Code states it is important your footwear does not stop you using your vehicle’s controls ‘in the correct manner’.

Changing lanes fools average speed cameras: FALSE

In the early days of the SPECS system used across the UK, changing lanes in average speed camera areas would cause the system to lose track of your car, thus resulting in no conviction. James May famously publicised this on Top Gear - hence how the myth has grown.

In 2022 however, and due to several extensive updates, tricks like this no longer work. 

If you have fully comprehensive insurance you can drive anything: TRUE (to an extent!)

In most instances, drivers with fully comp insurance are covered to drive another vehicle providing it's been OK'd by the vehicle owner and the vehicle in question is also insured. There are exemptions though, such as if you're under 25, have any previous motoring convictions or the vehicle you’re intending to drive is unusual – expensive, fast, rare etc. there's a decent chance you won't be covered. 

As with all of these things, best to check before you hit the road. 

Driving with headphones in is breaking the law: FALSE

You won't pass your test with headphones in but it's not illegal. Taxi drivers often drive with headphones in to block out the noise from the punters in the back! 

You can have open alcohol in the car: TRUE

It's not illegal for passengers to enjoy a can or two but stats show that this puts the driver at increased risk of an accident too, as there attention may end up slipping due to their rowdy mates! 

Now you know the do's and dont's why don't you take our theory quiz here 

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