Six driving myths busted

Driving myths uncovered

Can you eat a pizza at the wheel? And can you call Domino’s to place your order while you’re at the traffic lights? We bust six myths about what you can and can’t do in your car.

It's illegal to eat at the wheel

No, it's perfectly legal to shove a bar of Dairy Milk or a packet of salt and vinegar down your neck while driving. But if the police consider you're not in proper control of your car, you could be charged with careless driving – which carries an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points.

I can smoke in my own car

Not if you have the kids with you – it's illegal for anyone to smoke in a car with children in. Both the driver and the smoker can be fined £50.

I don't need my glasses if I'm just supervising a learner driver

If you are supervising a learner driver, you are deemed to be in control of the car – and if a tricky situation arises, you need to be prepared to take the wheel. So you should be concentrating as intensely as if you were driving, and all the same laws apply. You can't be over the legal alcohol limit, you can't use a mobile phone unless it's hands-free, and if you need glasses for driving, you must wear them. You must also be at least 21 to supervise a learner driver and have held a full driving licence for at least three years.

I can use my mobile phone if I'm stationary

You cannot use a hand-held mobile phone while driving – even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or in a traffic jam. It is only okay to use it if you have parked and switched the engine off. Otherwise, it is illegal to even pick your phone up for a second or glance at it. This applies to both texts and calls, and to using your phone as a sat nav. The penalty for doing so is six points on your licence and a £200 fine; if you've had your licence for less than two years, you'll lose it.

You can use your phone at the wheel if it’s completely hands-free, but even then the police have the power to stop you if they think you’ve been distracted by it.

Men are better drivers than women

Let’s look at the evidence. In 2017, men committed 79% of driving offences in England and Wales. Twice as many men as women were caught driving without tax or insurance, three times as many were caught speeding, and five times as many were caught drink-driving. Male drivers made twice as many at-fault insurance claims as women.

Men are also more likely to tailgate another driver, undertake, not indicate and take both hands off the wheel, according to research by confused.com. That’s that myth laid to rest, then.

The law allows you to go 10% over the speed limit

Not true -that's why it's called a limit. The National Police Chiefs’ Council suggests police forces don’t prosecute drivers who aren't more than 10% over, which is probably where this myth comes from, but you are still breaking the law and if they choose to prosecute you then they can.

At Carwise Group, we have a huge range of used cars for sale of a variety of makes and models. If you'd like to test drive one of them, call us at whichever of our dealerships is most convenient for you – you'll find us in Harlow and Maidstone.