Debunking UK Driving Myths for Learner Drivers

As drivers, we often hear various myths about the dos and don’ts of driving in the UK. Unfortunately, many of these myths are incorrect and it’s hard for new drivers to distinguish between the legitimate driving guidelines and the misconceptions. 

In this article, learner drivers will be more confident on the road, knowing we have debunked the most common driving myths in the United Kingdom. 

Road Safety Reminders

Road safety is our primary concern for this article. And Rule 148 UK Higway Code provides very clear guidelines to avoid distractions while driving. Here are some of the things you need to avoid:

  • loud audio in your car 
  • reading a map
  • engaging in an argument with other road users
  • eating and drinking
  • smoking

In the aspect of smoking, separate rules apply to England, Wales and Scotland. In England and Wales, drivers are not allowed to smoke nor allow anyone to smoke inside a private vehicle when there is a passenger who is under 18 years of age. 

In Scotland, this rule applies, except when it is parked and being used as a living accommodation. 

Myth #1: There is a safe amount of alcohol that you are still allowed to drive.

The amount of alcohol that is safe for driving varies from person to person due to factors such as weight, metabolism, gender, and food consumption, which influence how alcohol is processed. Therefore, it is impossible to provide a fixed answer or specific limit, such as two glasses of wine, to determine what is allowed for safe driving.

Let’s keep it simple. Iif you’re going to drive, don’t drink at all.

In fact, the rules on drink driving also apply to passengers if they are supervising a learner driver. You cannot  be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, nor get distracted with your phone even as a passenger. 

Myth #2: Sucking a penny can distort the results of a breathalyser.

This is a nonsense that goes around with drunk people. You can’t cheat a breathalyser. Gargling with mint or chewing anything to mask the alcohol scent will never save you. 

There is no substance or method that can change the alcohol content in your breath.

The only reliable way to avoid a positive breathalyser test is to avoid drinking and driving altogether. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver, use public transportation, or call a taxi or ride-sharing service.

Myth #3: It is illegal to eat and drive

It is not illegal to eat while driving. But make sure it does not distract your driving – that you are in full control of your vehicle. Otherwise you can be charged with careless driving, which carries a maximum penalty of £5,000, 9 points that can stay on your licence for 4 years, and a possible driving disqualification. 

Myth #4: It is illegal to drive barefooted

Rule 97 of the highway code states that your clothing and footwear should not prevent you from properly controling the vehicle. While it is not illegal to drive barefooted or with slippers, it is best to drive with a comfortable shoes on.

Driving barefooted or with slippers can be uncomfortable and affect your ability to properly control the vehicle. Your feet may slip off the pedals, making it harder to brake or accelerate smoothly. Additionally, driving with bare feet or unsuitable footwear may also cause your foot to get caught between the pedals, which can be dangerous in an emergency situation.

Myth #5: It is illegal to drive at night with the interior light on

There is no law that prevents you to turn on the the inside lights of the car while driving at night, but it is best to avoid it.

When driving at night, your eyes are adjusted to the darkness, and any sudden bright lights can cause temporary blindness or distraction. Turning on the inside lights of the car can create reflections on the windshield that can distract you from the road ahead. This distraction can be especially dangerous if you are driving on a poorly lit road, as it can impair your ability to see any hazards or obstacles in front of you.

Myth #6: Your wife can be charged for distracting you to drive

This is nonsense.  Your wife cannot be charged for distracting you to drive.  Surely, a passenger, including your wife, can distract you while you are driving which can lead to careless or dangerous driving. However, it is the driver who is responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle, and ultimately, it is the driver who would be charged if an accident occurred.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped to debunk some of the most common UK driving myths and provided you with accurate information. Remember to always drive safely and follow the rules ofthe road to avoid accidents and penalties. It’s important to keep yourself updated on the latest driving laws and regulations in the UK, and to always exercise caution and good judgement while driving. By doing so, you can help keep yourself and others safe on the road.

Always remember to wear your seatbelt, avoid distractions while driving, and obey traffic signs. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of how points on your licence can lead to a totting up ban. With these tips in mind, you can be a more informed and safer driver on the road.