New research shows that 30% of drivers could be risking a ban because they don’t realise their eyesight is too poor to operate a vehicle safely. According to Vision Express and road safety charity Brake, five million UK motorists would fail the practical driving test’s number plate test. Drivers have to read a number plate from at least 20 metres away in order to pass.
Don’t be one of those who contribute to the 2,900 casualties per year due to poor vision. If you have even the slightest of concerns about your vision, book an eye test today. If you do have an accident and your eyesight is shown to be a contributing factor, you could end up being disqualified from driving, with your car insurance potentially invalidated as well.
The eyesight issue highlights a bigger risk though – that some motorists could be breaking the law without even realising that they are doing so. It’s a far more common issue than you might think, as PetrolPrices reveals in its top six biggest unknown risks to your driving licence.
1. Drive with dry feet
What you should wear on your feet when driving has caused some debate over the years. There has been much discussion on whether it is illegal to drive in flip flops or with bare feet. According to the RAC, neither is illegal as long as you are in full control of the car.
When it comes to going barefoot behind the wheel though, the organisation says that you mustn’t have wet feet, because that poses a serious risk to your ability to control the car – and that is illegal.
2. Keep Rover restrained
The image of a dog with its head out of the window, ears flapping in the wind, brings a smile to many of us – until there is an accident and the dog becomes lethal projectile for all those in the canine-carrying car. It also means that dear pooch will be unlikely to survive in the event of an accident.
That’s why the Highway Code states that dogs and other animals must be “suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly.” If you are found to be driving with an unrestrained dog, you could lose your licence. In the case of an accident, you could also end up with no insurance cover.
3. Put your foot down
While we’re not condoning speeding, it is an offence to drive too slowly in the UK. Police can stop and charge you with ‘careless driving’ in extreme cases, leading to potential points on your licence.
That might sound strange but research has shown that other drivers can become frustrated with slow drivers and are more likely to make rash over- or undertaking decisions. This leads to an increased chance of an accident.
4. Avoid mobiles and… fast food?
To use a mobile phone legally when in your car, you must be parked up safely with the handbrake engaged and the engine off. Even sitting in a queue at a fast-food drive through could land you in trouble with the police.
Using your phone to pay for the meal while your car is idling is actually a criminal offence. It could see you being prosecuted for using a mobile while driving. Expect an extra large £200 fine and six points on your licence to go with that Big Mac and fries.
5. Watch your medication
The idea of police cracking down on drug drivers inevitably brings to mind a stoned young driver with a joint hanging from their bottom lip, but there are also serious consequences for those found to be driving while on certain prescription medicines. These medications include clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, methadone and morphine.
If you are taking these medicines at their prescribed levels, you are in theory not breaking the law – but any higher and you could face a driving ban. It’s best to check with your doctor when any medicine is being prescribed to ensure you are on the right side of the law.
6. Mute your music
After a long day, it’s not uncommon for many of us to crank up the volume to clear the mind and destress. But be warned – if you play your music too loudly and fellow motorists report you, you could be penalised for causing alarm, annoyance or distress to those round you.
The police may proffer a simple verbal warning. If you ignore it, they have the power to take your car. So please consider your fellow motorists and turn it down!
Should such obscure driving laws be enforced by the police? Or are they a sign of a nanny state that needs to back off? Let us know your thoughts below.