It’s 2018 and there are more cars on the road than ever before. Even in the past eighteen years (yes I’m that old) since I passed my driving test, I have noticed a difference in the amount of traffic. So it’s only right that there are laws and restrictions put in place that assist us with staying safe on the roads.
This year alone there are new laws coming into place that some of you may not be aware of. Let’s look at those first.
Children’s Car Seats
New models of backless booster seats will now only be suitable for children who are taller than 125cm or weigh more than 22kg. High back seats will feature a guide to lower the level of the seatbelt in line with the passenger’s shoulders.
Children under 15 months old must now travel in a backwards-facing car seat. Something that might not be very popular with some parents!
All children must use a car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall depending on what comes first. Children over 12 or more than 135cm tall of course, must wear a seatbelt.
Driving Test Changes
There is currently an independent driving element in the driving test where the examiner gives no instructions for 10 minutes. In the new test, there will be a section where the driver will have to follow instructions from a sat nav. This is to prove they can follow the directions safely and sensibly.
The drivers will also be asked to demonstrate to the examiner, a particular function of the car. For example, how to demist the windscreen.
Drivers will also need to demonstrate their ability to reverse into a car parking space, something that hasn’t been in the test until now.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras will be introduced on major motorways. These are being put in place to monitor any misuse of the hard shoulder. If a driver uses the hard shoulder on a managed motorway when it isn’t open, or drives in a lane with a red ‘X’ above it, the cameras will automatically trigger a penalty. The penalty will include a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence. Nasty! But all the more reason to use the motorways sensibly.
All of these things are in addition to the laws that have been in place for a while. Let’s have a recap of some key British road rules so that we can all practise staying safe on the roads. After all, none of us wants or needs a fine and/or points on our license if it can be avoided.
Know your speed limits. You would think this was common sense, but on a recent Speed Awareness Course (yes, guilty as charged!), I was shocked at just how many people in the room didn’t know the basic laws. If you’re uncertain, hop on over to the Governments Highway Code site and familiarise yourself with them.
Again, make sure you know what the signs mean so that when you’re on unfamiliar roads, you still know what speed you should be doing.
This is a biggy – but an important one. Only a fool will pick up their mobile phone when driving. The police are clamping down on this faster and stronger than ever. Did you also know that it’s illegal to use your phone when you’re in standstill traffic? Don’t get caught out. Be sensible. That text or phone call can wait until you can pull over safely.
Alcohol and Drugs
If you have even the slightest suspicion that you might be over the legal limit to drive – don’t do it. Better still, don’t drink and drive at all. It’s just not worth it. Stick to soft drinks if you think you might need to drive later. It’s not worth the risk on your life and those others on the roads. The same goes for drugs. Just say no!
These are obviously just some of the rules that are enforced in the UK. If you feel you need to refresh your memory, there is no harm in doing some of your own research. After we have been driving a while, we all get a little complacent, but it’s important to stay ahead of the game so that you can be the best and the safest driver you can possibly be.
Alternatively, if you do find yourself in a bit of a pickle with a driving-related issue, David Philips and Partners can help anyone dealing with a driving-related penalty. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, but if you do, it’s nice to know there are specialists out there to help you.
Did you notice I sneakily admitted to having to go on a Speed Awareness Course? Have you ever been on one and how did you find it? Perhaps you’ve had other driving-related offences down to laws you didn’t know existed? Let me know in the comments.
Written in collaboration