Some of the rules of the road are pretty obvious – don’t break the speed limits, don’t drink and drive, don’t use your mobile phone. But others are a bit more obscure and some are just downright bizarre.
No matter how little-known they are, some of these offences carry hefty punishments including penalty points and big fines so it’s worth being up to speed with them.
Here are just some of the most obscure motoring rules which could land you with a big fine.
Letting your pet roam free in the car
It’s not only dangerous for you and you pet, having an unsecured animal in the car could be hazardous to your wallet. If police deem you have been driving without proper control because of your pet you can be hit with a £200 fine, rising to up to £2,500 if you’re convicted of driving without due care and attention. You can also receive up to nine penalty points.
Using your mobile while supervising a learner
Even if you’re not driving you could still be penalised for using your phone. If you’re supervising a learner driver then you must not use your handheld mobile. If you do, you’re subject to the same £200 fine and six penalty points as if you had been driving.
Flashing your headlights
Many of us will flash our lights to other motorists to let them go through, but it’s technically illegal. Headlamp flashes should only be used to warn other drivers of your presence. If you are caught flashing your headlights for any other reason, such as using them to warn others of a speed trap, you could face a fine of up to £1,000.
Inconsiderate and illegal, splashing a pedestrian could be considered as driving without reasonable care for other road users. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 this could see you fined up to £5,000, although you’re more likely to be hit with a £100 fixed penalty notice.
Swearing at other drivers
Ranting about other motorists is a release for some drivers but it could be construed as disorderly behaviour and see you fined up to 75 per cent of your weekly income – up to a maximum £1,000. Or, it could be seen as threatening behaviour, which carries a fine of up to £5,000.
Forgetting your glasses
It seems obvious that you shouldn’t drive without glasses if you need them. To emphasise this there’s a minimum fine of £100 if you do. If you get taken to court this could rise to £1,000.
Not updating your licence
Not keeping the DVLA informed of changes to your name or address is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.
Beeping your horn
Spend any time driving in a city and you’ll hear plenty of horns honked in anger. It might ease your frustration but beep your horn for any other reason than alerting someone of your presence and you could receive a £30 fine.
Paying for drive-thru with a phone
Using your phone as a contactless payment method might be handy but do it at a drive-thru when you’re car’s engine is running and you could be in trouble. As with using an unsecured phone as a sat nav, this counts as using a handheld device while driving and carries the same £200 fine and six penalty points as making a call or texting.
Having a dirty number plate
A few splattered bugs on a number plate isn’t going to get you into trouble but if it’s so filthy it can’t be read then you could be fined up to £1,000. The same is true if your number plate lights are faulty or your plates don’t comply with rules on fonts and spacing.
Leaving snow on your car
It’s a hassle clearing all the snow from your car but it’s for your safety and that of other road users. It’s not illegal to have snow on your roof but if it slides off onto another car or blocks your view then you could be fined for driving without due consideration or driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. Both carry a £60 fine and three penalty points.