In Britain, the roads work a little differently to the rest of Europe, and large parts of the world. The quirky island nation defies the European norm by driving on the left, a practice only copied by Britain’s ex-colonial possessions and the equally quirky island of Japan.
That said, one might expect the legalities surrounding driving to be a lot simpler than other UK laws. Exceeding the assigned speed limit, failing to halt at a red light and parking on a park on the double yellow line all make sense. Laws penalising these errors make sense because they fit into a logical system that is supported by a network of signs and flashing lights.
When it comes to complex things like libel and slander, copyright, and property conveyancing etc, one can understand why the legal system gets a whole lot more complicated. In those areas there are no red lights, road markings or luminous signs to warn one of legal pitfalls. You can’t get a driving instructor for life.
British laws of the road are clearly not as simple or obvious as we might assume. Millions of drivers still offend, often without even realising it. In addition to the well-publicised rules surrounding using mobile phones, not using seatbelts, and speeding when one shouldn’t, there are plenty of technicalities waiting to catch the unsuspecting driver out.
The penalties for ignoring them can hurt both your bank balance and your driver’s licence. In Britain, 12 ‘points’ on your licence, and you’re out. Even a few points can land you either and additional fine or a speed awareness course.
For example, some acts of good will are frowned upon by the police. The simple task of warning oncoming drivers of a police speed trap by flashing your headlamps is, in fact, illegal and could net you a big fine.
Some legal hazards are simply obscure. Using a contactless debit card to pay for your drive-through meal- fine. Using a contactless phone app to pay for your drive-through meal- not cool.
Thankfully some rules are rooted in common sense and consideration for others: splashing pedestrians with puddles, swearing at other road users, and beeping your horn in a stationary traffic jam are all illegal. Clearly the stereotype of ultra-polite Brits is accurate in some respect.
Below Regtransfers have collected some of the lesser known rules of the UK’s roads. How many of these do you commit on your daily commute?