true or false: driving offence myths debunked

From texting in traffic jams to applying lippy when the lights are on red, we’ve heard every driving offence myth there is.Let’s look at some of the most common driving tales and determine which are true and which are false:

It’s legal to use your phone in the car while stationary - false

Whether you’re sat in traffic or waiting at a red light, you may be tempted to check Twitter or quickly reply to a text. However, doing so could land you in hot water. Contrary to popular belief, it’s potentially illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving, even if the car isn’t moving.

The key issue will surround whether you are still considered to be driving when the vehicle is stationary; this can often depend on road position, handbrake application and stop/start technology. The only exception to the rule is if you need to call 999 in an emergency and it’s unsafe to stop the car. Failure to abide by the law could see you receive 6 points on your licence and a fine of £200. If your case goes to court, the punishment could be more severe.

You can’t get fined for driving too slowly - false

Driving slowly may seem less harmless than driving speedily, but if your driving causes other people to brake suddenly or swerve around you, an accident could occur. If you put others at risk, you could face a fine or points on your licence for driving without reasonable consideration.

It’s not illegal to drive in flip flops - false

Technically, it’s not illegal to wear flip flops while driving, but it is widely considered unsafe. Pedals can get caught between the sole of your foot and the flip-flop and there have been instances where people have been killed because of unsafe footwear. Last year a 9-year-old girl died in a car accident which police believed may have been caused by her father’s footwear .

It’s legal to not wear a seatbelt in the back seat - false

Regardless of where they’re sat, all passengers must buckle up. When a backseat passenger doesn’t wear a seatbelt, not only are they a danger to themselves, they also have the potential to put other people’s lives at risk in the event of an accident.

You can’t get in trouble for applying makeup while driving - false

A 2013 study revealed that almost half of women admit to applying make-up behind the wheel . 43% of participants admitted doing so even though they knew they shouldn’t, while 14% believed it affected their driving negatively. Although there are no specific laws against applying makeup at the wheel, doing so could lead to a prosecution for; failure to maintain proper control of a vehicle, driving without due care and attention or even dangerous driving. Penalties for such an offence can range from points on your licence, disqualification to a prison sentence if another driver or passenger was to be hurt or killed.

It’s not illegal to smoke while driving - false

Although it may come as a surprise, smoking while driving is not illegal, providing there are no children in the car. However, if smoking a cigarette affects your driving and causes you to become distracted, you could face charges of failure to maintain proper control of a vehicle, driving without due care and attention or even dangerous a dangerous driving.