10 Bad Driving Habits That Could Land You in Trouble
How long is it since you did your driving theory test? Do you ever pick up the Highway Code for a quick refresh? Here are some bad driving habits that drivers can forget are risky or against the rules.
1. Splashing pedestrians
2. Flashing your lights to warn other drivers about a speed check
You may feel it is simply a polite gesture to do this on the road, but it is illegal. If you are caught doing this, the minimum fine is £30.
3. Not clearing snow sufficiently from car
Rule 228 of the Highway Code states that drivers must, “Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users.”
Snow on the roof might seem like a minor issue, but it can be dangerous. The snow might slide down the front or rear window while driving and obstruct the driver’s view. It may also blow back onto the windshield of the driver behind. It is very risky to leave a pile of snow on your car roof. Ditch this lazy driving behaviour – spend a few minutes clearing all the snow from your car.
4. Leaving your engine running to de-ice your car
If you leave your engine running idle on a public road in order to de-ice the windscreen, you could end up with a fixed £20 fine. Stationary idling is an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
The Act enforces rule 123 of the Highway Code which states: “You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.
The other risk of course is that an opportune thief could steal your car if you leave it this way, even for a short time. You can invalidate your insurance by doing something that significantly increases the risk of your car being stolen.
5. Holding a sat nav in your hands
Using sat nav is legal but only if it is mounted safely and securely in a position that does not obstruct your view or distract from driving. You can get fined up to £200 and 6 penalty points.
6. Smoking while driving with children in the car
It is illegal to smoke in the car if you have passengers below the age of 18 in the vehicle.
7. Parking or waiting on a yellow line
Most people know that double yellow lines prohibit parking but there can be much confusion when it comes to a single yellow line. With a single yellow line, according to the Highway Code, you must adhere to the instructions on local signage and this can vary a great deal from one road to another. Unfortunately, even when you check it can be easy to make a mistake.
8. Leaving a child alone in the car in some circumstances
This is a grey area. The law doesn’t state an age when you can leave a child on their own. However it is an offence to leave a child alone, including in a car, if it places them at risk. It is up to your judgement to decide but the NSPCC does provide some helpful guidance:
- children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
- children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
- babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
Government advice is that parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.
9. Not updating DVLA details
Your name, address and medical conditions should be reported to the DVLA as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, you may be fined up to £1,000 pounds.
10. Beeping your horn for the wrong reasons
The Highway Code states that the horn should only be used when warning someone is in danger. Not only is this a bad driving habit, it is illegal to use the horn as a form of road rage.
Do you know the rules for use of a mobile phone when driving? Check out our handy guide.