The privilege of driving comes with a number of rules you must follow to not only protect yourself but other road users. While you may think you’re a fairly law-abiding citizen, the truth is that you probably break laws every day.

There are obvious ones such as don’t speed, use your mobile while behind the wheel and/or drive while under the influence of a mind-altering substance, which most us will never do. But what about those times when you’ve broken the law without realising it? Here are eight things that are illegal that you probably didn’t know about.

Sleeping in your car while under the influence

Seems innocuous enough, taking a little nap in your car until you’ve sobered up seems like the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, the boys in blue may see things differently as the law states that those in charge of a motor vehicle should not be inebriated. How this is interpreted depends on the person who catches you but, historically, people have been charged for it.

Letting Lassie loose on the hard shoulder

If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to break down on the motorway, you will know the script provided by emergency services. Exit the vehicle away from traffic and stand behind the safety barrier. But what happens when man’s best friend is a passenger in the vehicle?

The law states that an if you release an animal on the hard shoulder and they cause an accident, you could face a driving charge. Even if your dog is the epitome of obedience, you can’t dictate their behaviour in every situation. So leave Lassie in the car and hope they don’t make a mess.

Playing ‘horn-hemian rhapsody’ in a built-up area between 11:30 pm and 7 am

You may remember, back in the day, when taxis would announce their arrival with a quick beep of the horn, nowadays, it’s a swift call on your mobile. Maybe it’s due to the little-known legality issue or maybe it’s because they got tired of people ignoring them.

Driving a van over 50mph on a single carriageway

Van’s which aren’t car-derived must not exceed:

  • 50mph on single carriageways
  • 60mph on dual carriageways
  • 70mph on motorways

It’s a little-known rule, but one that catches many unaware.

Overtaking at a pedestrian crossing

If you’re driving along and notice a car stationary at a pedestrian crossing on a multi-lane road, after the light has turned green, don’t be tempted to overtake as you could find yourself in a bit of bother with the law. The reason you must not overtake a car nearest to the pedestrian crossing is due to their vehicle possibly concealing a pedestrian.

Using a mobile phone as a sat nav

With the recent changes to penalties and fines for using your phone behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to ensure you are well versed in this law. It is illegal to use a hand-held device to follow a map. The phone must be fixed to the windscreen or dashboard (whichever causes less of an obstruction). All those who rest it between their legs and steal glances, you’re in for a £200 fine and 6 points if caught!

Wrong side of the street

Drivers who park up on the wrong side of the road at night could be charged with a driving offence under rule 248 of the Highway Code and can receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

This is due to the risk of dazzling other drivers with your headlights as you park. The likelihood of you being charged for this may be slim, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Parking within 10 metres of a junction  

Common sense alert but, if you park near a junction you are likely to either hinder the view of a driver or you’ll force them to steer around you putting them at risk of oncoming traffic. Despite it being a fairly simple rule if in doubt, don’t chance it.

Have we missed something? Let us know of any strange road laws that people fail to adhere to via our usual channels.