Considering the clarity of the Highway Code, it never fails to surprise us at Big Motoring World how much confusion there is about what you can and can’t do when you’re behind the wheel. So, from the legality of listening to your favourite tunes on your headphones while driving, to whether you can get away with imagining you’re on the German autobahn on the UK’s motorways, here are a few myths we’ve busted.
You’re not allowed to wear headphones while you’re driving
It’s not illegal – but it’s not a great idea. Wearing headphones might mean that you don’t hear sirens or other warning sounds, and it could potentially open you up to a driving without due care and attention charge.
You’re not allowed to eat behind the wheel
Again, not illegal, but it’s definitely not a good idea to be steering with your knee while you munch on a baguette. The police are well within their rights to prosecute you if they think you don’t have the car under full control.
It’s illegal to sleep in your car
Only if you’re over the drink driving limit. If you’re sober, just make sure that the place you’re parked in is safe and secure, and also double-check that you’re allowed to stay there overnight.
The left-hand lane on a motorway is only for lorries.
It’s not. If you’re not overtaking, then you should be in the left hand lane. Recent changes in the law have also now given the police powers to give drivers on-the-spot fines if they’re caught hogging the middle or outside lanes.
There is no national speed limit on the motorway
There is. It’s hard to believe sometimes when you’re being passed by speed merchants doing 100mph-plus in the fast lane – but there really is a national speed limit of 70mph on the UK’s motorways. It’s even lower (60mph) for vehicles over seven and a half tonnes, or for those of you towing a caravan, so don’t get caught out.
Hazard lights mean: ‘I know I shouldn’t really be parking here but I am. I won’t be long.’
They really don’t. Hazard lights mean you need to warn other drivers of the fact that you are stationary and have had to stop abruptly or unexpectedly. Putting them on just because you’re stopping somewhere you know you shouldn’t really be parking is at best confusing for other drivers, and at worst can be dangerous if the signal is misinterpreted by other road users.