The obscure driving laws you could be breaking without realising

Every driver knows that breaking the speed limit or jumping a red light will land them in trouble with the law but not every driving offence is quite so obvious.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse but a new poll of drivers has found that many could be accidentally risking fines of as much as £1,000 because they aren’t aware their actions are illegal.

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For instance, the study found that more than half (52 per cent) didn’t know that swearing or making rude gestures at another driver can carry a fine of up to £1,000. Road rage incidents like that might happen in the heat of the moment but if police catch you, you can be charged with disorderly conduct.

Even more drivers (54 per cent) were unaware that having your music up too loud is not just annoying but illegal too. The offence is covered by a variety of rules enforced by police and local authorities but if your music is causing others distress, alarm or annoyance you could be fined £100 or even have your car seized if you refuse to turn it down. And if police think loud music is affecting your driving you could risk a charge of careless driving, which brings £100 fine and three penalty points.

Playing your music too loud could see you fined £100 or having your car seized (Photo: Shutterstock)

The two offences were among those drivers were least likely to be aware of, according to the poll by CarParts4Less. Other less well-known offences that still carry substantial penalties included:

Forty-three per cent of motorists didn’t know that it’s illegal to splash a pedestrian. Doing so intentionally could result in three points and a £100 fine, although in extreme circumstances you could find yourself in court facing a £5,000 fine.

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Despite much publicity around the rules regarding phone use at the wheel, 32 per cent didn’t know that using your smartphone as a sat nav, without hands-free access, could result in a £200 fine and six points.

And 24 per cent of drivers didn’t know that driving with dirty number plates is an offence, with fines of up to £1,000 if your registration is obscured but dirty or snow.

A spokesperson for CarParts4Less said: “It’s not uncommon for drivers to develop bad habits over time and while most people will swear out of frustration or play their music loud, it’s important to be aware that this behaviour can land you in trouble if it goes too far.

“We advise that all motorists stay up to date with the laws of the road to avoid any unnecessary penalty points or hefty fines. Make sure your smartphone is correctly secured if using it as a sat-nav, be careful when driving through puddles and most importantly, be kind and considerate to other road users!”