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Bad habits die hard; 5 motoring habits that you should watch out for

February 1, 2017 by in category News with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > Bad habits die hard; 5 motoring habits that you should watch out for

In England and Wales, there were a staggering total of 1,016,827 fixed penalty notices that were issued in 2015. The official figures for 2016 have not been released at the time of writing, however, the amount of FPNs have been steadily increasing.

Perhaps some motorists, take this for granted and in the process of carrying out seemingly harmless tasks in the name of saving time, they commit minor motoring offences. Tom Lehrer’s famous words about ‘knowing…being the only method of true preparation’ rings true here. Here are (some) of the most common road offences that you may not necessarily appreciate attract penalties, points and fines if you’re caught out committing them.

5 bad motoring habits

A) Driving the morning after a night of drinking

There is a misconception amongst motorists that ‘sleeping it off’ will mean that you are road fit after a hard night of partying. This may not necessarily be true as everybody metabolises alcohol at different rates – largely depending on numerous factors such as your weight, tolerance and age. To illustrate this, it would take around over 17 hours for you to ‘process’ 6 glasses of standard 12% wine (14 units of Alcohol).

If you are tested the morning after and you still are above the limit, you may be prosecuted for drink driving. If you are unfortunate enough to face a drink driving charge, the maximum penalties that you could face are (a) a prison sentence of up to 6 months or (b) a community order or (c) an unlimited fine and (d) a mandatory ban of 12 months . To avoid this and the stress associated with facing a drink driving charge, we suggest using a taxi after a night out!

For more information on Drink Driving, Attempting to Drive or being In Charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence, do check our previously published blog here.

B) Dangerous or Careless Driving

Dangerous driving will always be a matter for consideration by the courts as an offence that can be dealt with either in the Magistrates’ Court where the maximum penalty is 6 months in prison and the mimimum mandatory penalty is a 12 month ban with an extended retest before you are able to drive again. In the Crown Court a conviction could lead to a maximum 2 year prison spell.

Worryingly, in 2015 – over 3,000 motorists were charged with driving without due care and attention (code: CD10) also referred to as Careless or Inconsiderate driving. Whilst the offence can be dealt with by way of a fixed penalty, the courts have the power to impose a penalty of 3-9 points along with a potentially unlimited fine.

Recently in the press, motorists have been charged with Careless Driving for instances such as excessive speeding, tailgating, disregarding road etiquette, shaving (yes, true!), using your mobile phone and even changing their clothes whilst on the motorway!

The recommended stopping distances are contained in the Highway Code under Rule 126. Generally, try to accommodate for a 2 second slow down period between your car and the motorist ahead. Also, try to keep a minimum of five meters between your vehicle and the next.

Even simple acts like changing the song on the radio can render you not in proper control of your vehicle and therefore attract liability.

It might seem obvious to not attempt to apply your mascara whilst flying down the motorway, however stranger things have happened. The argument is that whilst your hands are pre-occupied with your makeup, food or drink – you do not have full control of your vehicle in the event of an emergency. Drivers have recently been snapped smoking, eating and drinking by CCTV cameras and have gotten home to find a FPN having been issued to them.

Excessive Horn Honking and Road-Rage

I’m sure we all can think of that one person we know who is a little too trigger happy with their horn. However, pursuant to the Highway Code (Rule 112), motorists should not use their horn whilst they are stationary on the road. Moreover, it is expressly forbidden to use your horn along residential streets between the hours of 11.30pm and 07:00am. This is a common and easily overlooked motorist mistake – which no doubt is perpetuated by the endless scenes in movies of cars pulling up and a friendly ‘honk’ is made to let the resident know their ride has arrived.

Having said that, if there is a genuine and reasonable danger that is posed on the road – you may use your horn – after all, that IS what it is for, right?

Flashing your Headlights Aggressively

Under Highway Code (Rule 110), try not to use your headlights for any other purpose other than to indicate that you are there. This includes sending messages (regardless of how polite or friendly you are trying to be!) or trying to intimidate other motorists.

Road-Rage: Common Assaults and Battery

Violence most definitely is not the answer! Generally, unless there is some serious harm inflicted on another, most physical offences will be classified as common assault. Common assault cases can normally attract up to six months imprisonment – however all surrounding circumstances will need to be considered before sentence is passed. However, road-rage is treated very seriously and could result in a charge of wanton and furious driving under section 35 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 or Dangerous Driving as in the case we successfully dealt with for our client, Peter Foster.

overloading car while driving

C) Overloading a vehicle on the road

Overloading a car can have serious implications on the road performance of the vehicle. This may affect the steering capabilities or simply increase the weight of the vehicle, therefore impeding its ability to brake within a reasonable time and distance.

You are likely to be stopped by police if your tyres look strained or the back of your car is too close to the ground. If you are stopped by the police, you may be liable to pay a fine of up to £60 – £200 or if the overloading is deemed sufficiently serious (in the case of heavy-duty vehicles i.e. vans and trucks) the maximum fine is £5000.

With the amount of FPNs on the rise, remember, distracted drivers are easy targets for road police and CCTV cameras. So, the next time you reach for that Mars Bar for a sugar-kick, mascara or soft-drink can – think again!

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