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Obscure Road Safety Laws You May Not Have Known

Road safety laws are comprehensive and numerous, to keep road users of all kinds safe from accident or injury, and to ensure sensible use of roads in the process. Barely any of us could provide detailed information on the various acts of legislation that govern our driving, but we nonetheless understand the general principles.

Indeed, there are many motoring laws of which we are intimately familiar. We book our MOT online each year to avoid driving an uncertified, illegal vehicle; we observe speed limits every time we drive; we wear seatbelts; we are even getting used to leaving our phones untouched while on the road. But what are some of the more obscure laws we could be potentially breaking, without even knowing?

Dogs and ‘Distraction’

While not specifically outlined in UK law, there is a potential legal risk attached to the simple act of letting your dog hang their head out of their passenger window while driving. Despite being a regular sight on the roads, and despite dogs’ seemingly unstoppable urge to get their gums flapping in the wind, allowing your dogs to do so could see you falling foul of legislation relating to distraction on the road. Animals of any kind should really be properly secured, in a cage, carrier or closed-off bed while driving to reduce this risk.

Warning Other Drivers of Speed Traps

A common and unspoken courtesy amongst the UK’s driving population is to let other drivers know about temporary speed traps. At one point or another, we have all passed a stationary police vehicle or camera and given a cursory flick of the high-beams to drivers approaching from the opposite direction.

But if you are caught doing this, you could find yourself in serious trouble. Alerting other road users to police speed traps is tantamount to obstruction of a police officer. This is because you are preventing them from properly carrying out their duty, and aiding potential speeders to circumvent the law in the process.

Splashing Others

Too often as pedestrians, we make the mistake of walking by a roadside puddle in the rain, and find ourselves on the receiving end of an inadvertent splashing incident. Horrible as these are to experience, there is still that little part of us that throws up an intrusive thought every time we drive past one ourselves: go on, splash them!

While your moral centre will largely get the better of you, another incentive to avoid doing so relates to the legal aspect. Purposefully splashing a pedestrian or road user by driving through a puddle may be deemed ‘careless driving’ depending on certain police officers’ interpretation of the situation – a charge that could lead to a custodial sentence!

Borrowing Parking Money

If you have parked by a pay and display meter that still takes cash, and found yourself a few pence short of your hour’s stay, your first thought may have been to counsel other drivers for a spare bit of change. This, however, is illegal – at least, according to the Vagrancy Act of 1824. It is doubtful that any officer would enforce this, but maybe keep your monetary requests hush-hush next time…

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