You may be Aware of the Road, but are you Aware of the Rules?


We all know mirror, signal, manoeuvre, being generally aware of our surroundings on the road is obvious, and drilled into us as soon as we learn to drive.

Generally speaking, we all keep our eyes on the road, however, do you remember all the rules? This includes the highway code, best practices, and the other kind of laws, those of physics. Read on if you're not sure what we're talking about.

Dangerous driving – eating burger a wheel

Continuing Motoring Development?

In various professions, such as law, you're required to do 'continuing professional development'. This is where you catch up on changes in the industry, and to make sure nobody falls 'out of touch'. Lorry drivers also undergo further training in this fashion, but this doesn't apply to regular drivers, even though many spend many hours a week on the roads, as if it were a part time job.

Whilst it may sound flippant suggesting that drivers have forgotten about the laws of physics, in recent RAC research, just 16% of motorists remembered that the stopping distance quoted by the Highway Code for a car travelling at 70mph is 24 car lengths. Half thought the stopping distance was 10 car lengths or less. This indicates that half of people would have smashed into the back of another driver at a substantial speed if they applied this to the real world.

Simon Best, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said, "Information from the Highway Code, including stopping distances, should be for life and not just for the theory test."

Did you just learn how to 'pass' the test?

What about 'The Law'?

Currently, there are no laws stating that you cannot eat and drink (non-alcoholic drinks of course) whilst driving, however, this doesn't give you carte blanche to do so. The press reported a motorist being fined and given penalty points for eating just part of a sandwich at the wheel. The offence? Not being in proper control of a vehicle. Similar things happened to the person who ate an apple, and the woman who decided to put her make-up on whilst driving to work.

The situations above are examples of when the police have taken action against a driver. This is where the criminal law applies. This is different to civil law, and both or neither can apply. Under civil law, you can make a road traffic accident claim, and this could well involve situations where someone isn't properly in control of their vehicle, causing a road traffic accident.

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