AA debunks interior car light myth we were all told as children
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Did you really have a British dad if he didn’t tell you it was illegal to drive with the interior light on in the car at night?
As children, many of us were told the myth – whether parents actually believed it, or it was an excuse to stop the endless “but why?” line of questioning. But what is the truth behind the widespread belief?
According to the AA, there is no specific law against driving with your interior lights on.
However, at night, it can be distracting and possibly interfere with your vision by reflecting off the inside of the windscreen. If you are pulled over and it is decided your light was a probable cause of any bad driving, you can expect to get a careless driving charge.
With that bombshell, the AA has separated fact from fiction by debunking some of the most common driving myths.
Is it illegal to eat and drive?
No, there is no specific law against eating while driving.
You are not going to be pulled over if you are seen taking a bite out of food, unless that bite stops you from paying attention to the road.
The AA’s poll found that one in 10 of us eat while we drive.
If you do, make sure your eating habits do not distract you behind the wheel.
If the police think you are not in control, you can be charged with careless driving.
This carries a maximum penalty of £5,000, three to nine points on your licence and a discretionary driving disqualification.
Is it illegal to drink soft drinks and coffee while driving?
Like with eating, there is no law against drinking a soft drink while driving if you are not distracted by it.
If you are driving with a hot coffee cup, keep the lid on.
Any sudden spills could be enough to cause you to lose control of the car, and you could end up with a careless driving fine as well as a burned lap.
Is it legal to smoke and drive?
It is illegal to smoke in any private vehicle with anyone under 18 present or in company vehicles or vans.
If you use your own private vehicle for business occasionally, you are allowed to smoke in it.
If the car has been given to you by your employer for the purpose of work, you cannot.
Smoking in the car is not illegal under any other circumstances, but the Highway Code specifically lists smoking as a distraction that can result in a careless driving charge.
Can you drive 10 per cent over the speed limit without breaking the law?
In theory, you break the law if you drive even 1mph over the speed limit.
But you will not get a ticket because speedometers are not always 100 per cent accurate, so police allow for this.
Plus, it is not safe to drive with your eyes glued to the speedometer.
AA President Edmund King advises that it is better to keep your eyes on the road.
The National Police Chief’s Council recommends only giving a speeding ticket if you exceed the limit by 10 per cent plus 2.
So that would mean driving 35mph in a 30mph zone.
However, this is up to individual police officers to decide, so there is no guarantee they will let you off.
The best way to make sure you do not get caught by a police officer or speed camera is to drive carefully and try to stick to the limit.
Is driving in heels, sliders, or barefoot illegal?
When choosing which shoes you drive in, you need to be able to operate the pedals safely without your footwear—or lack thereof—making it difficult.
Rule 97 of the Highway Code makes it clear that drivers must have “footwear and clothing which does not prevent (them) using the controls in the correct manner.”
So while it is not illegal to drive in heels or sliders, it is suggested that you drive in more sensible shoes and change when you get to your destination.
Can listening to music too loud land me a fine?
Rule 148 of the Highway Code states that safe driving and riding requires concentration, so all distractions should be avoided.
Listening to loud music is included as a potential distraction.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you avoid doing anything that could slow your reaction times and cause an otherwise avoidable accident.
Can items dangling from my rear-view mirror fail my MOT?
Yes, they can.
Obstruction of more than 4cm could land you with a failed MOT.
But realistically, you will probably be told by your mechanic to remove the item attached to your rear-view mirror before the MOT takes place.
The AA’s survey revealed that 5 per cent of drivers had things dangling from their rear-view mirrors, which could create a blind spot.
The following are the top five items discovered dangling from the windscreen:
- Air fresheners (mainly trees)
- Teddy bears (from small to one foot in length)
- Miniature footballs
- Beads and rosary beads
- Coats of arms (mainly football clubs)
How many drinks can I have and still drive?
When it comes to the drink-driving limit, the AA’s stance is: if you are driving, do not drink at all.
How much you can drink and still be safe to drive varies for each person, so there is no fixed answer.
Factors including your weight, metabolism, gender, and what you have eaten all contribute to how you process alcohol.
That means it is impossible to say that, for example, two glasses of wine is how much you are allowed.
As far as the law goes in England and Wales, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. In Scotland, it’s 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Different people will reach this limit after a different number or type of drinks; a strong cocktail will have more effect than one cider, for example.
Attempting to drive while over the legal limit can get you six months in prison, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban.
So it is better to just not risk it and avoid a drink if you are the designated driver.
Is it illegal for a passenger to drink alcohol?
No, but just because you can drink as a car passenger does not necessarily mean you should.
After all, it is not just the driver’s responsibility—passengers can help with safer driving too.
If you are supervising a learner driver, the same legal responsibilities apply to you.
So you cannot use your phone or be under the influence, even though you are not doing the actual driving yourself.
Can I have open bottles or cans of alcohol in a car?
There is no law against having an open can or bottle in the car, but it is not recommended to drive around with a backseat full of open beers.
If you are pulled over and you have a car full of open bottles of booze, you could be breathalysed to make sure you have not been drinking.
Will sucking a penny fool a breathalyser?
There is an urban myth that sucking on pennies can mask the alcohol on your breath and cheat a breathalyser.
It is illegal and irresponsible to try to cheat a breathalyser as it puts you and other road users in danger.
Chewing on garlic, citrus, or mints won’t trick the breathalyser, either.
Is it illegal to go around a roundabout 3 times?
No, it is not.
Roundabouts are not always the easiest to navigate, so do not worry about missing your exit the first time.
But you should plan your route in advance so you do not end up circling unnecessarily, as this could be considered careless driving.
A spokesperson for the AA said: “There are plenty of myths and misconceptions around what you can and can’t do whilst driving.
“The AA reminds drivers that the most important thing to remember when you’re on roads in the UK is that you must obey the Highway Code.
“While driving rules are constantly updated, it is important motorists understand the current regulations in place.
“Not only will this reduce unexpected fines or penalties from failing to comply, but it will make UK roads a safer place.”
Source: Read Full Article