Avoid Drink Driving and Motoring Pitfalls
The Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February has been met with mixed responses from overjoyed to hugely frustrated. Regardless of your view, the roadmap will no doubt mean an increase in vehicle usage as life slowly returns to normal (whatever that will be after all of this). With a huge number of people having been working from home, vehicles have been stowed in the driveway gathering dust so getting back into the routine of driving is something worth considering.
- Is your insurance up to date?
- When is your MOT due?
- Tyre pressure?
- Oil and water levels?
Basic vehicle maintenance can be easy to forget during such periods and so might some other good practices. Hopefully, this article will remind you of good practices as you return to more daily use of your vehicles.
Pubs, Clubs & Restaurants
I am sure many of you are keen to get your friends back together and revel in the sights, sounds, smells and physical contact from a night out on the town so here’s a few tips to help you stay on the right side of the law:
1) Designated driver
If you’re heading out and some of you have vehicles, avoid any temptation to drive after consuming alcohol. Designating a driver to make sure you each get back home safely is one of the best practices a group of friends can adopt. Yes, it’s likely less fun for the driver, but sharing the responsibility each time makes it more bearable and means you will be less likely to drive.
2) Set aside funds or make transport arrangements
It’s obvious I know, but you may be surprised at how many motorists we speak to who have found themselves in bother because their phone died or they missed the last train and decide to drive home. In this instance, it’s always a good idea to have physical cash set aside for any transport home you may need.
3) Drink plenty of water whether you’re out on the town or enjoying a nice meal. Alcohol is well known to hinder our judgement and alternating drinks between alcohol and non-alcohol will slow the rate your body is absorbing alcohol. This will help keep you in sound mind for longer and will of course help with the hangover the following day.
4) Try to avoid sleeping in your car. If you think you have no choice but to sleep in your car, then make sure you have alternative plans to get home once you have finished sleeping. Being drunk whilst “in charge” of a vehicle is a criminal offence and one that many motorists are unaware of.
Yes, we realise you’ve been locked up for the best part of a year, but don’t let the new-found freedom get the better of you. Always be mindful of the speed limits especially on roads you may not have driven on for quite some time and be mindful that the roads are probably going to be busier over the coming months than they have been for a long time.
Driving With Pets
Looking forward to a drive to the coast with your pet after lockdown? Our canine friends accompany us on more journeys than ever before and an offence is not committed simply by having your dog in the car. If your pet is causing a distraction to you or to other road users then you could face charges of careless or dangerous driving- the latter of which carries severe penalties including lengthy disqualifications and prison sentences.
Flip Flop Driving
Flip flops (and other types of footwear) are widely considered to be unsuitable for driving. Wearing them isn’t an offence in itself but if your shoes reduce your control of the vehicle then you could be charged with careless driving so don’t forget to dress appropriately for your journey!
It’s a wonder any of us like driving when we can’t even sing without risk being slapped with a conviction! But alas yes, in a similar fashion to the above, singing (or loud music) may be considered too distracting for you to maintain proper control of your vehicle. So any plans you may have to pop the roof, let your hair down and coast along to your favourite uplifting tracks, may need to be tempered a little.
Paying With a Mobile Phone
Petrol station: “That will be £40.00 please”
You: “Do you accept Apple Pay? Great!”
You’ve just committed an offence of using a mobile phone whilst driving which carries 6 penalty points. Being stationary in traffic, at a petrol station or even in a McDonald’s drive-thru does not mean you can legally use your phone. Granted, it’s unlikely you would be caught unless there is a very strict officer behind you but still, it’s worth knowing just in case!
Splashing Through Puddles
Driving through a puddle and splashing a pedestrian is effectively driving without reasonable consideration under the Road Traffic Act. So the next time you see that poor soul with 20 shopping bags standing dangerously close to a puddle at the bus stop, think about the penalty points and £100 fine you may be hit with if they report you.
Wear proper shoes, don’t drink alcohol, argue with passengers, shout at your dog or perform Proud Mary on your way to the in-laws. Stay safe and keep your attention on the road and all will be well…. With any luck, it might actually all feel normal again without having to worry about a road conviction.