False driving myths

There are plenty of myths and old wives tales when it comes to driving; from worrying about driving with no shoes on to not using your phone at petrol stations. Here we set straight the myths from the truth, so you can drive worry free.

1. It is illegal to eat whilst driving


It’s not illegal to eat whilst driving, however should you pose a significant danger, the police could prosecute you for distracted driving. To be on the safe side, it is recommended not to eat food whilst on the move, so you can be fully attentive; take a break at a service station instead and stretch your legs!

2. Not all speed cameras flash


Some cameras don’t use the flash at all and will take your details using infra-red. Though this system is a lot less common than the cameras we all know and love, it’s something to bear in mind if you think you’ve gotten away with it.

3. Speed cameras have a 10% tolerance


Whilst some vehicle’s speedometers have a 10% error built in, this doesn’t by law give you a 10% tolerance on going over the speed limit. If a speed camera or police radar gun catches you speeding, whether its 1 mph over the limit or 10 mph over the limit, you can still be prosecuted.

4. It is illegal to drive barefoot


Though the Driving Standards Authority frowns upon bare feet and suggests appropriate footwear, it’s actually not illegal in itself to drive with no shoes on.

5. Red single lines are just the same as double yellows


Red single lines are different to double yellow lines. Red single lines have restricted stopping times that are displayed on the sign adjacent to the line.

6. It is illegal and dangerous to use your phone at a petrol station


This is a very dated belief which has since been disproved – both by the television show ‘mythbusters’ and by The Petroleum Equipment Institute. There is no risk to using your mobile at a petrol station, though some stations still ban the use of phones. Better safe than sorry.

7. It is illegal to circle a roundabout more than 3 times


There is no evidence to support this, other than the ‘careless driving’ argument. You should plan before you enter a roundabout and circling more than twice could be considered as careless driving. It is however, illegal to drive over a mini-roundabout, as they must be treated as an island in the road.

8. Furry dice could cause your car to fail its MOT


Any obstruction in your field of vision wider than four centimeters can actually cause your car to fail its MOT. That is, if your mechanic is cruel and doesn’t tell you before the test.

9. Red cars are more expensive to insure


Another common misconception is that yellow cars are cheaper to ensure because they’re more visible, however the colour of your car has absolutely nothing to do with the price of your insurance. The colour of your car, however, can affect your safety, with black cars being 47% more prone to accidents than any other colour at night time.

10. I can have a pint and a half and still drive


How much you can drink and still be safe to drive is entirely dependent upon you as a person; your weight, age and even gender all play their part in determining how much is too much. It’s important to remember that though you may think you’re safe, alcohol doesn’t just impede your co-ordination and sight, but also your judgement, reaction time and alertness.

Remember that even though some of these myths aren’t illegal, they can still endanger you and others and are considered unsafe. As long as you’re sensible and cautious, you shouldn’t be in any trouble behind the wheel.

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