7 Driving Myths Debunked

With so many dos and don’ts, motorists have been subjected to a lot of driving myths regarding what is and what isn’t a driving offence.

From drinking to road rage, we have gathered the biggest rumours to break down whether they’re true or false.

It is illegal to drive barefoot

Strictly speaking, it is not illegal to drive barefoot, or wearing flip-flops or high heels for that matter. However, when you get behind the wheel, you need to be able to operate the controls safely. So having wet feet, for example, will affect your grip of the pedals, which will put you, passengers and other road users at risk. The Driving Standards Agency doesn’t recommend barefoot driving, “Suitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel. We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don’t have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on.”

Sucking on a penny invalidates a breathalyser test

When the drink driving laws were introduced, a rumour spread that sticking a penny in your mouth would invalidate a breathalyser test. This was allegedly due to the chemical reaction with the metal and the alcohol would lead to an absurdly high blood alcohol level that could then give the defendant a case for test malfunction. This has been disproven many times over, with the only thing proven to pass a breathalyser is to not drink and drive.

Eating and drinking soft drinks while driving is illegal

We may have all ate a snack or swigged some water at one point whilst driving, but it’s actually a bit of a driving taboo. You could face a careless driving prosecution if the police find you not in proper control of your vehicle whilst reaching for a travel sweet or opening a drink bottle.

You can get away with driving 10 per cent over the driving limit

The National Police Chiefs’ Council have suggested police forces allow drivers a margin of 10 per cent of the speed limit, to take into account driver concentration and 2mph speedometer error. However, this is just a suggestion.

A police officer will not necessarily turn a blind eye at your driving at 33mph in a 30mph zone. If a speed gun picks up that you’ve been driving even 1mph over the limit, the law enforcer would be well within their rights to impose a prosecution. Ultimately, it’s up to the officer’s discretion.

Paying for food at a drive-in with your phone is OK

Actually, this is a big no-no. If you’re in your car and paying for takeaway food, it is recommended that you stick to cash or card payments. If you’re using your something like Apple Pay via your phone, you will have to stop the car, put your handbrake on and turn the engine off before you make the transaction.

Road rage that doesn’t include physical contact is permitted

Nope! Any type of reactionary behaviour – whether it’s verbal, aggressive beeping or gestures – will be seen as provocative and will fall under the disorderly behaviour laws. This could result in potentially being fined three quarters of your weekly income. So take a deep breath and count to three!

As designated driver, I’m OK to enjoy one or two beers

So many factors affect your blood-alcohol level. When you last ate, how tired you are, your physical build and if you’re on any medication will all determine how your body is influenced by alcohol. With this in mind, if you’re driving, stick to soft drinks. And if you are swayed by a glass of wine, there’s always a taxi that you can ring at the end of the night.