ATP Template with bundler

Traffic - general


Answer

From the 28th September 2020, the way the theory test works in England, Scotland and Wales will change.

 

The change is intended to make the test more accessible but especially to those with reading/learning difficulties or conditions such as autism.

 

To begin with, the change will only apply to car driving tests.

 

Presently, you have to read a case study and then answer 5 questions about it, but if you take the test from 28th September, you'll watch a video clip instead of reading the case study and then answer 3 questions about it.

The video will be quite short, silent and you can view it as many times as you wish – you'll then need to correctly answer 3 multi-choice questions about it. You'll have to choose the correct answer to each question from 4 possible answers.

You can watch an example the type of video clip you'll be shown in the link below:

 

https://youtu .be/FnMMjuaS8fQ

 

You'll be asked question such as:

  1. Why are motorcyclists considered vulnerable road users?
  2. Why should the driver, on the side road, look out for motorcyclists at junctions?
  3. In this clip, who can cross the chevrons to overtake other vehicles, when it's safe to do so?

 

The screen you'll see will look like the one shown below:

 

 

If the image does not display, please click here.

 

(Image courtesy of the DfT)


Answer

No, all driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5 November until 2 December 2020. The DVSA will be contacting affected test candidates soon.


Answer

Not all collisions require officers to complete a collision report.

In some instances a collision report will not be released until the police file has been finalised.

If you are a solicitor or an insurance agent, you can apply on behalf of your client for a copy of any existing collision reports the police have.

People can also apply for collision reports or request details of third parties involved in a collision if they are representing themselves in civil proceedings.

Information on how to make a request and details regarding costs can be found on local police force websites. See the link in Related Information for force contact details.


Answer

During the summer of 2021, the standard (or premium) grade of petrol in the UK will become E10, meaning that the petrol will contain up to 10% renewable ethanol – this has been done to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help tackle climate change.

E10 petrol can be used in almost 95% of petrol powered vehicles on the road today, including cars built since 2011. You can check whether your vehicle is compatible with E10 petrol here.

If you can't use E10 petrol in your vehicle, you will still be able to use E5 petrol by purchasing the 'Super' grade petrol available at most petrol stations.

Petrol stations will clearly label E10 and E5 petrol using these markings:

If the image does not display, please click here.

Note that the change only applies to petrol – diesel fuel will remain unchanged.

Providing your vehicle is compatible with E10 petrol, there's no reason you can't mix the two grades of petrol (E5 and E10). It's perfectly safe to mix them in the same tank or fill up with E5 if E10 is not available.

If you put E10 petrol in a non-compatible vehicle, simply fill up with E5 ('Super') petrol next time. Using a single tank of E10 fuel in a vehicle that is not compatible should not be a major problem – just make sure you fill up with the correct E5 petrol next time you refuel. Unlike putting petrol into a diesel engine, you shouldn't need to drain the tank and, on a one-time basis, will not suffer engine damage as a result. However, prolonged use of E10 petrol in a non-compatible vehicle may cause harm and is not recommended.


Answer

It is safest to assume that all the lights on your vehicle must be in working order – if they aren't you may commit an offence. However, there are exemptions in relation to a:

  • rear fog lamp on a vehicle which is part of a combination of vehicles, any part of which is not required to be fitted with a rear fog lamp.
  • rear fog lamp on a motor vehicle drawing a trailer.
  • defective lamp, reflector, dim-dip device or headlamp levelling device on a vehicle in use on a road between sunrise and sunset, if any such lamp, reflector or device became defective during the journey which is in progress or if arrangements have been made to remedy the defect as soon as possible.
  • lamp, reflector, dim-dip device, headlamp levelling device or rear marking on a combat vehicle in use on a road between sunrise and sunset.
  • front fog lamp or a daytime running lamp on a vehicle which was first registered before 1st March 2018.


Answer

It means that more than likely you have been flashed by a speed camera or gone through a red light or committed another minor traffic offence.

The exact offence will be stated on the summons, along with the date of the court appearance - you must attend court on this date. If you can't attend, you must contact the court as soon as possible. You may be able to plead guilty by post to the alleged offence, the summons will explain your options.


Answer

Although it was not you that has been stopped by the police, you must still go to court. This is to make a statutory declaration (a sworn statement) to that effect. The court will then adjourn the matter back to the police who will need to make further enquiries.

It is important that you attend court otherwise a warrant will be issued. If you cannot make it on the day in question, contact the court to advise them.


Answer

A green P plate on a vehicle means that the person driving has only recently passed their test. Extra consideration should be given to cars displaying a P plate.


Answer

To hold a licence to drive a moped you have to be 16 years old. To hold a licence for a car you have to be 17 years old, unless you are getting or have applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in which case the minimum age is 16. To ride a motorcycle you have to be 17 years old.


Answer

A 'car cruise' is a gathering of large numbers of car enthusiasts who meet at car parks where 'boy racers' show off their customised vehicles. A minority of these perform dangerous stunts and this coupled with the sheer numbers of people gives rise to causing fear to the public.

Whilst cruising in itself is not illegal, many of the cars involved do commit offences whilst taking part in the cruise, such as speeding, handbrake turns and criminal damage.

Some Police Forces are now treating the meetings as Anti-Social Behaviour and are asking people to leave. Anyone who refuses to leave an area when asked to do so by a Police Officer or Police Community Support Officer, faces arrest.

The police would urge people not to take part and if they do to drive carefully and be mindful of the possible nuisance such events can bring to neighbourhoods.


Answer

If your vehicle doesn't have a current MOT certificate, you can only drive it to or from a pre-arranged MOT appointment or to or from a pre-arranged repair appointment to have defects remedied that were discovered on a previous test. You can also drive your vehicle on a road without road tax in these circumstances too but your vehicle must be insured. However, not having an MOT may have implications for the validity of your insurance - you would need to check this with your insurer.

The only way you could lawfully move a vehicle without an MOT, other than in the circumstances described above, is on a trailer or recovery vehicle so that all four wheels are off the ground.

Note that:

  • If a vehicle has failed an MOT you can't drive it away from the garage if any of the defects were classed as being dangerous. Dangerous defects mean a direct and immediate risk to road safety or have a serious impact on the environment - do not drive the vehicle until they've been repaired.
  • You will commit an offence if you park a vehicle without an MOT on the road.
  • The law makes no mention as to how far you can go for an MOT but we would suggest the distance is kept as short as possible because even though you are exempt from having a valid MOT certificate in the circumstances described above, if you are stopped by the police you could still be prosecuted for any defective parts on your vehicle e.g. exhaust, brakes and tyres etc. If you call in at shops etc. on your way to the MOT, it may be held that you are using the vehicle for other purposes and the above exemption won't apply. The further you travel the more likelihood there is of your vehicle triggering an ANPR camera and you being stopped.
  • You can get an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before it runs out and keep the same renewal date.
  • You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.


Answer

Electric scooters, quads, go-peds, mini-motos, hoverboards and Segways
In legal terms, these are all examples of vehicles that may be considered motor vehicles and are therefore subject to all the usual legal requirements that apply to other motor vehicles such as cars or motorcycles.

Therefore, they cannot be used on the road unless they are taxed (if required), registered, have an MOT (if required), are insured and the driver has a valid driving licence for the category of vehicle. If any of these requirements are not met, the vehicle can't legally be driven/ridden on the road.

In reality, many of these types of vehicle will never be 'road legal' because their design fails to meet road-vehicle safety standards.

Note also that it's an offence to use such vehicles on the pavement too.

They cannot be used on council land e.g. parks, unless there is a designated area specifically for them. In some areas, there may be commercially operated parks where they can be used.

They can only legally be used on private land/property with the permission of the land/property owner. However, note that it's against the law for a child under 13 to drive/ride on a tractor or self-propelled vehicle e.g. a quad, when it's being used in agricultural operations.

Electric bikes
Electric bikes known as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) can be used on the road as long as they meet certain requirements (see Q605) and the rider is at least 14 years old.

EAPCs aren't classed as motor vehicles and so don't require insurance and the driver doesn't need a driving licence. Additionally, they are exempt from having to be registered and vehicle tax.

EAPCs cannot be used on the pavement.

Electric scooter trials
In some parts of the country, you can legally rent an electric scooter as part of a government trial – this is explained in Q1062.


Answer

It is not illegal to reverse into a main road but it is not advisable - this is for safety reasons. The main road is likely to be very busy and there will be an increased chance of an accident due to the presence of more cars on the road. If an accident occurred due to you reversing onto a main road from a minor road then there may be the possibility of you being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.


Answer

No, it's against the law.

Any interference with the number plate to make it less easily distinguishable to the eye or which would impair the making of a true photographic image is against the law.

Although the spray does interfere with flash photography, many speed cameras have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology that uses infrared, thereby making the spray ineffective.

You could be liable for a substantial fine if you are found guilty of using such a spray.


Answer

Tread depth
The table below shows the basic tyre tread depth requirements:

Type of vehicle

Minimum tread depth

Cars, goods vehicles e.g. vans, not exceeding 3500kg
Trailers and caravans not exceeding 3500kg

At least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference

Most other vehicles e.g. busses, large goods vehicles etc.

At least 1mm throughout a continuous band across at least 3/4 of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. The original tread pattern must be clearly visible in the remaining quarter.

At least 1mm where the original pattern did not extend beyond three-quarters of the breadth of the tread.

Motorcycles over 50cc

At least 1mm throughout a continuous band across at least 3/4 of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. The original tread pattern must be clearly visible in the remaining quarter.

At least 1mm in where the original pattern did not extend beyond three-quarters of the breadth of the tread.

Mopeds and motorcycles not exceeding 50cc

The original tread pattern must be clearly visible


Other legal requirements
Generally, with some exceptions for agricultural vehicles etc., it's against the law to use a tyre that:

  • is not suitably inflated for the use to which the vehicle or trailer is put.
  • has a cut in excess of 25mm or 10 per cent of the section width of the tyre, whichever is the greater, deep enough to reach the ply or cord.
  • has a lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial fracture of its structure.
  • is unsuitable in regard to the vehicle's use or to the types of tyres fitted to the other wheels (this does not apply to temporary use spare tyres).
  • has any portion of the ply or cord exposed.
  • is not maintained in fit condition for the use to which the vehicle or trailer is put.
  • has a defect that might cause damage to the road surface or to persons on or in the vehicle or using the road.

Age
Tyres degrade with age even if they aren't used very often but there are no hard and fast rules on when they should be replaced. Therefore, it's important to check tyres regularly for signs of aging such as cracks in the side walls, and replace them straight away.

Effect of less tread depth
Whilst the legal limit for cars is 1.6 mm, tests conducted by the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) found that once tyres are below 3 mm, stopping distances increase dramatically.

Expert guidance
If you are in any doubt as to whether your tyres are roadworthy, have them checked by a reputable garage/tyre fitter – they will be able to advise you.


Answer

Rule 112 if the Highway Code states:

'The horn. Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. Never sound your horn aggressively. You must not use your horn

  • while stationary on the road
  • when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am

except when another road user poses a danger.'


Answer

Driving licence requirements
The driving licence legislation for three-wheelers (tricycles), irrespective of whether they are car or motorcycle based, changed considerably on 19.01.13. The two most important changes were that from 19.01.13, new rider/drivers:

  • must be a minimum of 21 years of age (for tricycles over 15 kW), and
  • require a motorcycle licence (category A or A1) to be able to drive them because they no longer fall within category B1. This only applies if you don't already have a full car licence - see below.

The changes only affect those taking their test after 19.01.13. Those riders/drivers with existing full entitlement to ride/drive category B1 vehicles gained before 19.01.13 will retain that entitlement. However, when the holders of such licences exchange them, DVLA will add a new entitlement 'category A (limited to tricycles - restriction code 79)', to their licence.

Riding a tricycle with a car licence
You can drive/ride a motor tricycle of any power rating if you're over 21 and you have a full car driving licence. If this is not the case you'll need a full category A1 motorbike licence to ride motor tricycles up to a power output of 15 Kilowatts (kW), and a full category A motorbike licence to ride trikes with a power output more than 15 kW.

AM tricycles
At age 16 or over, you must pass your CBT, theory test and then a practical test on a motorcycle without a sidecar with an engine capacity up to 50cc. You may then ride two or three wheeled vehicles no more than 50cc and below 4 kW, with a design speed not exceeding 28mph.

A1 motorcycle licence – three-wheelers not exceeding 15 kW
At age 17 or over, you must pass your CBT, theory test and then a practical test on a motorcycle without a sidecar of between 120 and 125cc. You may then ride a motorcycle up to 125cc with a power output up to 11 kW, or a motor tricycle with a power not exceeding 15 kW.

A motorcycle licence – three-wheelers above 15 kW
Test taken on a motorcycle without a sidecar of at least 595cc and an engine power of at least 40 kW; this gives full access to all motorcycles and motor tricycles. There are two routes to acquire category A:

  • Progressive access – riders can get this category from age 21 years, provided they have a minimum of two years' experience on a category A2 motorcycle with a full licence and pass the category A practical motorcycle tests
  • Direct access – riders must be at least 24 years old, have a valid CBT certificate (only if they don't have full entitlement to A1 or A2 because then they will have already completed their CBT to get their A1 or A2 entitlement) and pass the theory and category A practical motorcycle tests

Points to note:

  1. Provisional B1 entitlement to ride/drive a three-wheeler has been withdrawn from all riders, even if they were using a three-wheeler prior to 19.01.13. After 19.01.13, a provisional licence will only cover riders to ride motor tricycles if they have a physical disability.
  2. The rules apply to all three-wheelers regardless of wheel configuration i.e. two wheels at the front and one at the back or visa versa.
  3. Driving tests for three-wheeled vehicles will only be available for physically disabled drivers. Able-bodied provisional licence holders who wish to ride motor tricycles will have to pass CBT and practical tests on a two wheeled motorcycle AM, A1 or A without a sidecar.

Insurance
Three-wheelers that are motor vehicles i.e. those constructed or adapted for use on road will require a minimum of third party cover.

MOT
Certificates are required for all vehicles over three years old.

Crash helmet

Vehicle's unladen weight

Is a crash helmet required?

Not exceeding 550 kg

No, providing the distance between the centre of contact of the front/rear wheels exceeds 460 mm.

Exceeds 550 kg

No


Answer

It may be a matter of being pragmatic in these circumstances and carrying your driving documents with you (meaning on your person or placed in the hotel safe etc. and not left unattended in the car).

It is an offence not to produce your documents to a police officer upon request. However, you are allowed to:

  • produce the documents within seven days at a police station specified at the time the producer (HO/RT1) was given or
  • produce the documents at the specified station as soon as is reasonably practicable. The length of time this means will be taken on a case by case basis.

So in the above situation, you should make every effort to produce the required documents as soon as possible, there is no guarantee however that your reasons for non-production will be accepted and you will then be reported for summons.


Answer

Double cab pickups can sometimes be classed as a dual purpose vehicle but this will depend on whether they comply with the requirements below.

A dual purpose vehicle basically is constructed or adapted for the carriage of both passengers and goods, has an unladen weight not exceeding 2040kgs and is either:

  • capable of all wheel drive,

or if not capable of all wheel drive has:

  • a rigid roof,
  • transverse passenger seats and
  • not less than 1850 square centimetres of glass in each side window and not less than 770 square centimetres of glass in the rear window.

The national speed limits applicable to dual purpose vehicles (when not drawing a trailer) are the same as those for a car:

  • motorway 70mph
  • dual carriageway 70mph
  • single carriageway 60mph
  • built up area 30mph

These speed limits also apply to passenger vehicles and motor caravans when they are not drawing a trailer, not adapted to carry more than 8 passengers and have an unladen weight not exceeding 3050kg.

If a vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry goods and passengers but doesn't come within the definition of a dual purpose vehicle because its unladen weight exceeds 2040 kg or it has a non-rigid roof or its seats run lengthways and not transversely or it doesn't have the required amount of glass etc., it will under the regulations be a goods vehicle, whether or not it is carrying goods. The link below gives the speed limits for dual purpose and goods vehicles.

GOV.UK - speed limits


Answer

Ordinarily if you are a private individual then you can sell your motor vehicle on the road. However, there may be local byelaws that impose some restrictions or prohibit this altogether. If you intend on selling your vehicle on the road, you should firstly check with your local authority to ascertain whether there are any byelaws which apply in your area.

If you do sell a motor vehicle on the road then it must be insured, taxed and have an MOT.

An offence is committed if two or more motor vehicles that are either exposed or offered for sale are left on a road within 500m of each other by a person acting for the purpose of a business of selling motor vehicles. This offence is aimed at certain garages and businesses that sell motor vehicles and park them for long periods of time on the road, which can cause a nuisance to local residents.


Answer

There are very limited circumstances when the DVLA will release such information to a third party.

Please see the 'FORM V888' link under Web Sites in Related Information, which takes you to the appropriate explanatory notes and application form.


Answer

The following advice is for anyone who feels vulnerable were he/she to stop. In many cases there may be several of you in the vehicle or you may be confident you can deal with the situation, in which case this advice may not apply to you.

An unmarked police car can stop vehicles but in order to comply with the provisions of the law, it must contain a constable who is in uniform. Failing to stop for a constable in uniform is an offence. In cases where a driver failed to stop and drove to the nearest police station/place of safety etc. before stopping because they were unsure of whether they were being asked to stop by a genuine police officer, if the police took action, it would ultimately be a matter for a court to decide whether they had committed an offence.

If a car flashing for you to pull over or stop is unmarked, unless you are certain it is the police, do not stop. Drive steadily to the nearest public place e.g. a petrol station where they are open till late, a police station or somewhere there are a lot of people, and then stop. If you are in a relatively deserted area, as a last resort, consider looking for a house that is obviously occupied and pull into the driveway. You can always apologise to the householder afterwards.

Try and signal that you have acknowledged the request to stop and indicate the action you are taking (put your flashers on or signal by pointing from the driver's window etc.). Don't drive off at great speed making the police think you are trying to get away.

Keep the doors locked until you are happy it is the police and have your mobile phone to hand just in case. You can ask to see the police officer's warrant card, which should carry their name and photograph, through the closed window.

Incidentally, if you are suspected of drink/drug driving none of these actions would invalidate an officer giving you a preliminary test, as you have only temporarily interrupted your journey and are still driving for the purposes of that law.


Answer

The types of vehicles not permitted to use the right hand (offside) lane on a motorway, which has three or more lanes open for use by traffic travelling in the same direction are:

  • a goods vehicle having a maximum laden weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes,
  • a goods vehicle having a maximum laden weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 7.5 tonnes, which is required to be fitted with a speed limiter
  • a passenger vehicle which is constructed or adapted to carry more than eight seated passengers in addition to the driver the maximum laden weight of which exceeds 7.5 tonnes;
  • a passenger vehicle which is constructed or adapted to carry more than eight seated passengers in addition to the driver the maximum laden weight of which does not exceed 7.5 tonnes, which is required to be fitted with a speed limiter.
  • a motor vehicle drawing a trailer
  • a vehicle which is a motor tractor, a light locomotive or a heavy locomotive.

There are exceptions to this rule, which are:

  • when it is necessary for the vehicle to be driven to enable it to pass another vehicle which is carrying or drawing a load of exceptional width.
  • for a vehicle to change lane during a period when it would not be reasonably practicable for it to do so without involving danger of injury to any person or inconvenience to other traffic.


Answer

A vehicle's speedometer must be kept free from any obstruction that may prevent it from being read and shall at all times it is used on a road be maintained in good working order. The only exceptions to this are when:

  • The speedometer became defective during the journey being undertaken, or
  • Steps have been taken to have the defect remedied by replacement or repair as soon as possible.
  • The vehicle has an approved tachograph.


Answer

No, in fact many manufacturers now provide tyre sealant and an inflation kits instead. However, these are only intended as a short term temporary solution, you must get your tyre repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Some manufacturers provide a space saver or temporary spare wheel – these will usually have a number of restrictions e.g. you can't exceed 50mph and/or you may only be able to use them on the front or rear of the vehicle. If you do have to fit a space saver bear in mind that your vehicle's handling will be very different and you should aim to get a proper wheel back on the vehicle as soon as possible.

If you have any doubts about the equipment your vehicle has to deal with a puncture, consult your vehicle's handbook or an approved dealer.


Answer

The issues to consider about driving with flags attached to the car are,

  • Vision - does the flag obscure the driver or any others drivers vision of the road?
  • Could it be classed as an insecure load, i.e. likely to come off and cause damage/injury?
  • The size of the flag - a normal flag (usually about the size of A4 paper) would not normally cause any problems but obviously the larger the flag the more potential for problems.
  • There is an offence of having a mascot/emblem on the car that, if the vehicle were to collide with someone, the mascot would strike them and cause injury. If the mascot is not likely to cause injury to a person by reason that it may bend, retract or detach itself from the vehicle then no offence would be committed.

So, although there is not a specific offence, you could commit an offence by having a flag on your car. It is the officer's discretion whether or not to take matters further if he/she feels that an offence has been committed.


Answer

Generally, yes you can. However, you cannot repair vehicles on a road if,

  • it is during the course of a business
  • it is for gain or reward
  • it causes annoyance to people in the vicinity

The only exception is that if the repairs are carried out following an accident or break down where it was necessary to do the repairs on the spot or within 72 hours.

If it is a one off repair then this is not likely to breach the law but anyone who repeatedly repairs vehicles on the road is likely to commit an offence.


Answer

It is an offence not to produce your driving licence, certificate of insurance and MOT certificate when requested to do so by a police officer. However the usual action is that the police officer will issue a HO/RT1/ (called a 'producer') requiring you to produce the documents at a police station of your choice within 7 days. If this is done and they are in order, then that is the end of the matter.

You will be reported for failing to produce the documents at the time of the request for production (so that extra time is not spent re-visiting you at home if you do not produce). If you fail to produce the documents within the 7 day period or they are not in order, you will be summonsed to attend court.

From a crime prevention point of view it is better never to leave your driving documents in your car and produce them within the 7 day period.


Answer

To drive a motor vehicle legally on a road you must:

  • have a valid licence that covers the category of vehicle you are driving,
  • have insurance that covers you for the vehicle you are driving,
  • have an MOT – this usually applies to vehicles over 3 years old,
  • make sure the vehicle is taxed – see Q911,
  • make sure the vehicle is registered,
  • make sure the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition.

If you come form abroad to take up residency in the UK, you must register and tax your vehicle with the DVLA immediately - UK residents are not allowed to drive foreign registered vehicles on UK roads. With regard to insurance, you must have UK insurance for a UK registered vehicle. Therefore, if you insure a UK registered vehicle in another country, you have no insurance to drive on UK roads and are committing an offence.

If you don't have a British licence see Q416 or Q417.


Answer

It is an offence to use a hand held mobile phone or an "interactive communications device", but there is an exemption for a two way radio which is designed or adapted -

  • for the purpose of transmitting and receiving spoken messages; and
  • operates on any frequency other than 880 MHz to 915 MHz, 925 MHz to 960 MHz, 1710 MHz to 1785 MHz, 1805 MHz to 1880 MHz, 1900 MHz to 1980 MHz or 2110 MHz to 2170 MHz.

Ofcom states that you should be transmitting CB in the 27MHz range, if you are, you come within the exception and are OK. The exception was created because so many government and private organisations (e.g. taxis) use 2 way radios.

However, there is strong scientific evidence that any such activity (including fiddling with your CD player etc.) does raise the level of danger so far as accidents are concerned, so it is recommended that you do whatever you can to minimise use of transmitter buttons, tuning devices and volume controls. If something akin to hands free exists it would be a good idea.

Even if the device you are using does not fall within the mobile phone legislation, with or without hands free, if you can't control your vehicle properly or are driving badly, you can be prosecuted for not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless driving or dangerous driving, the latter two offences carry much higher penalties. If you kill someone in an accident caused by phoning or texting or using a CB etc. you can expect a lengthy sentence of imprisonment.


Answer

Yes they do, it is an offence not to give precedence to a pedestrian on a zebra crossing.

As you approach a zebra crossing:

  • look out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross
  • you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing
  • allow more time for stopping on wet or icy roads
  • do not wave or use your horn to invite pedestrians across; this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching
  • be aware of pedestrians approaching from the side of the crossing.


Answer

Providing there are no children in the car (see Q921), it is not an offence in itself to smoke, eat or change the CD or radio whilst driving but you could commit the offence of driving without due care and attention or not being in proper control of the vehicle. These are some activities that distract the driver's attention from the road. Others include reading maps, talking on a hands-free mobile phone and having very loud music in the car.

Distracted drivers are more likely to have/cause accidents.

Please see Related Information for further information on smoking in cars if children are present.


Answer

Information on advanced driving and the benefits it can bring are available from the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), see websites in related information.

Advanced driving gives improved driving skills and makes safer drivers. Some insurance companies offer discounts to advanced drivers.


Answer

Rule 219 of The Highway Code states:

'You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.'

Therefore, as outlined above, if there is an emergency vehicle behind you with its emergency warning signals on, it might be possible for you to manoeuvre out of the way to allow it through. Ideally this should be to the side of the road without encroaching into the main area of the junction (see below). It should only be done when it is safe to do so without putting yourself or other members of the public in danger and it should only be done slowly and carefully.

If you do cross the stop line at the junction whilst the lights are on red, you will commit the offence of contravening a red traffic light. It's important to remember that in committing the offence (crossing the stop line) the onus will be on you to provide evidence that you did so to allow an emergency vehicle through. That may be considered as mitigation, but there is no guarantee that it will be. If the police decide to prosecute you for the offence and you choose to challenge that decision, it will ultimately be a matter for a court to decide.


Answer

No, the police do not need any reason to stop any person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle or riding a pedal cycle on a road. The police can then require that you provide your name, date of birth (in certain circumstances), driving licence, insurance and MoT certificates. Failure to comply with any of these requirements is an offence.


Answer

It is not an offence in itself to listen to music on a mobile device whilst driving or cycling.

However, listening to music can be distracting, especially if it is not be possible for the individual to be fully aware of their surroundings. You need to be able to bring to bear all the senses you can whilst driving, and being able to hear is important in enabling you to be in proper control of your vehicle in traffic. Obviously, some people have the disadvantage that they cannot hear too well (or not at all), but the rest of us should not deliberately mask our senses and put ourselves at the same disadvantage.

A person using a device playing loud music, may, therefore, be deemed not to have proper control of their vehicle or to be driving without reasonable consideration for others, both of which are relatively serious offences.


Answer

No, the officer issuing the ticket can stick it to any area of the vehicle. Ordinarily officers will attach the ticket to the windscreen because it is most visible in this position. In most cases they will place the ticket under a windscreen wiper in order that it does not blow away, hence the reason it may seem to be a requirement for it to be placed on the windscreen.

Some local areas may have different methods of notification and will not issue a parking ticket in this manner. For example, Officers/Wardens may take a photograph using a digital time stamp and issue the ticket via post. There are also CCTV systems covering parking places which work on the same principle.


Answer

Mechanically propelled vehicles on a public road are required to display number plates (number plate in the case of motorcycles). Covering the vehicle could prevent them from being seen and this would be an offence.

It would be legal to cover the vehicle as long as the registration plates could be seen. Clear plastic panels could be used in the appropriate places to enable the registration plates to be visible.


Answer

A registration document (V5) is not proof of ownership. The registered keeper should be the person who is actually using / keeping the vehicle and this is not necessarily the owner of the vehicle or the person who is paying for it.

That person is the person responsible for the vehicle so far as official communications from the police/DVLA etc., but the owner is the person who put up the cash (or was given it as a gift).

The DVLA make a point of saying that the person named on the registration document is not necessarily the owner.

This is particularly true with a company car which is owned by the company, however the registration document should show the registered keeper, i.e. the day to day user (this may be an employee who has it as a permanent perk with his/her job).

In the case of a car used by a married couple, ownership of any property is usually classed as joint and if the husband/wife was stopped driving the vehicle without insurance the police would probably accept that he/she was the joint owner and not look to the other partner for additional offences, such as owner permitting no insurance.

A registered keeper will usually be regarded as responsible for parking tickets etc. so it would be wise to have the registration document changed if you are the owner, but not the user/keeper. Additionally, as the owner/registered keeper of a vehicle, there might also be some circumstances where you could be prosecuted for an offence, e.g. if you are permitting someone to use the vehicle knowing full well it is not insured or roadworthy.


Answer

Loads overhanging the front and rear of a vehicle

The table below is a summary of the requirements applicable to loads overhanging the front and rear of a vehicle.

Length of Projection

Action if load projects rearwards

Action if load projects forwards

Not exceeding 1 metre

 

No requirements specified

 

No requirements specified

 

More than 1 metre, but not exceeding 2 metres

 

End must be made clearly visible

 

No requirements specified

 

More than 2 metres, but not exceeding 3.05 metres.

 

Marker boards required

 

· Attendant required

· Marker boards required

Exceeding 3.05 metres

 

· Two clear working days notice to Police

 

· Attendant required

 

· Marker boards required

 

· Two clear working days notice to Police

 

· Attendant required

 

· Marker boards required

 

Racing boats propelled by oars and certain other vehicles have slightly different requirements.

Loads overhanging the side/s of a vehicle

The table below is a summary of the requirements applicable to loads overhanging the sides of a vehicle.

Load Projection or Overall Width Action required

Load Projection or Overall Width Action required

Over 305mm lateral projection on either side.

· Two clear working days notice to Police

· Marker boards front and rear

· Additional lights required during hours of darkness or poor visibility

More than 2.9 metres, but not exceeding to 3.5 metres overall width

· Two clear working days notice to Police

· Marker boards front and rear

· Additional lights required during hours of darkness or poor visibility.

More than 3.5 metres, but not exceeding to 4.3 metres overall width

· Two clear working days notice to Police

· Attendant required

· Marker boards front and rear

· Additional lights required during hours of darkness or poor visibility.

If you would like further information in relation to overhanging loads please see the link below:

Department of Transport - overhanging loads: guidance

Offences

Please be aware that even if you comply with the above requirements if the load is unsafe/insecure or if your vehicle is overweight, you could be prosecuted.


Answer

Children under the age of 14 are legally obliged to wear a securely fastened helmet, and it is advisable that all other riders do the same as a safety precaution. It is also recommended that riders wear fluorescent clothing, particularly at night time, to ensure that they can easily be seen by passing motor vehicle drivers. You can also add fluorescent bands to your horse's legs and tail. If you use any lighting to increase your visibility, it should show a white light to the front and red to the rear.

Before taking a horse out on the roads you should ensure that the bridle and saddle are securely fitted and that you are confident controlling the horse. If your horse is nervous around traffic, it would be advisable to initially ride as part of a group, until your horse is more confident. When riding on the roads, you must not ride on the pavements and should avoid riding on cycle lanes.

When riding on the roads you should have consideration for other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and should take note of the following safety guidelines:

  • Keep to the left.
  • Keep both hands on the reins unless you are signalling.
  • Keep both feet in the stirrups.
  • Do not carry another person.
  • Do not carry anything which might affect your balance or get tangled up with the reins.
  • If you are leading a horse while walking, you should keep the horse to your left.
  • Move in the direction of the traffic flow when on a one-way street.
  • Never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.

Regarding the guidelines above, you should also consider how certain actions affect may affect your concentration levels e.g. talking on mobile phones or listening to music through headphones etc., while riding. You should also ensure that you are fully aware of your surroundings at all times.


Answer

Some traffic light controlled junctions have an advanced stop line (ASL) to allow cyclists to be positioned in front of other traffic - please see the diagram below:

Rule 178 - Advanced Stop Lines for Cycles

The Highway Code: using the road (159 to 203)

If the traffic lights are on red, drivers (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) must not cross the first stop line - if they do they could liable to a £100 fixed penalty and three penalty points on their driving license.

If the lights change from green to amber as a driver (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) approaches but they cannot safely stop before the first stop line, they can cross the first line but must stop before the second stop line. In these circumstances it is not an offence to stop in the marked area.

Drivers (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) should avoid blocking/encroaching onto the marked area at other times e.g. when the junction is blocked.

Note that just because there's a car in the ASL box does not mean to say the driver has committed an offence. The offence is only committed when the vehicle enters the ASL box when the light is red. If the vehicle enters the box and the light changes to red, no offence is committed.

Cyclists must not cross the second stop line while the traffic signal is red. Contravening a traffic signal is against the law, and could result in a £50 fine.

Some local authorities have run publicity campaigns with slogans such as: The bike box - get behind it.


Answer

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states:

"When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."

This is not a legal requirement that is set out in legislation, and so failure to comply with this rule will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted. However, please note that failure to comply with such sections of the Highway Code may still be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts to establish liability.


Answer

Although it is not illegal to wear sunglasses whilst driving at night, it is not advisable as it is essential your vision remains clear at all times.

For further information please see the link in Related Information to the AA website.


Answer

Type of vehicle

Can it be used on the road?

Can it be used on the pavement?

Bicycle/tricycle

Yes

No. Note that whilst there is no specific exemption in relation to children cycling on the pavement, the police will often use discretion.

Electrically assisted pedal cycle

Yes – but rider must be at least 14 years old

No

Electric scooter

Only if it is type approved for road use, is taxed and registered, the rider is insured and holds the appropriate driving licence

No

Electric skateboard

No

No

Go-cart

No

No

Go-ped (electric/petrol)

No

No

Invalid carriage (class 1)

Only if a pavement is not available or to cross the road

Yes

Invalid carriage (class 2) – used by a disabled person

Only if a pavement is not available or to cross the road

Yes – maximum speed of 4 mph

Invalid carriage (class 3) – used by a disabled person

Yes – maximum speed of 8 mph. Can't use bus lanes, cycle only lanes or motorways. You should avoid using dual carriageways with a speed limit over 50 mph.

You must use an amber flashing light for visibility if you use a class 3 invalid carriage on a dual carriageway.

Yes – maximum speed of 4 mph

Kick scooter

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

Lawnmower (ride-on)

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

Mini-moto

No

No

Pit bike

No

No

Quad

Only if it is type approved for road use, is taxed and registered, the rider is insured and holds the appropriate driving licence

No

Trials/scrambling motorcycle

Only if it is type approved for road use, is taxed and registered, the rider is insured and holds the appropriate driving licence

No

Roller skates/blades

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

Segway gyroscopic self-balancing scooter

No

No

Hoverboards

No

No

Skateboard

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances

You could face prosecution, it would depend on the circumstances


Answer

The following assumes you are not towing a trailer. Generally, you won't commit an offence if the light became defective during the journey or you have made arrangements to have it repaired as soon as possible.


Answer

Yes, it is an offence – you cannot obscure your lights or reflectors. You will need to fit a trailer board.


Answer

No, this would be an offence. The only exceptions to this are the screens from sat nav type equipment or reversing cameras.


Answer

If passengers are carried unrestrained, the driver may be guilty of an offence. Note there are separate requirements in relation to carrying children.


Answer

Special reasons are unusual circumstances existing at the time of an offence that mean that even if a driver commits an offence for which they must be disqualified (banned) from driving, they will receive a shorter ban or won't be banned at all.


Answer

CARS

  • Distance – the legal requirement is that you must be able to read in good daylight, with the aid of corrective lenses if worn, a motor vehicle number plate of the prescribed size at a distance of 20.0 metres or 12 metres for category K vehicles (mowing machines or pedestrian-controlled vehicles). The prescribed size is letters 79 mm high and 50 mm wide. You must also not have been told by a doctor or optician that your eyesight is currently worse than 6/12 (decimal 0.5) on the Snellen scale, using both eyes or one eye if you have sight in one eye only - you may use glasses or contact lenses. If there is any doubt about this you should speak to your doctor or optician.
  • Field of vision - this must also be of a satisfactory standard, your optician can explain about this and carry out a test.

LORRIES/BUSES

  • Distance – if you drive a lorry or bus you must have a visual acuity of at least 0.8 (6/7.5) measured on the Snellen scale in your best eye and at least 0.1 (6/60) on the Snellen scale in the other eye. This standard can be achieved using glasses with a corrective power not more than (+) 8 dioptres or contact lenses. There's no specific limit for the corrective power of contact lenses.
  • Field of vision – you must have a horizontal visual field of at least 160 degrees, the extension should be at least 70 degrees left and right and 30 degrees up and down. No defects should be present within a radius of the central 30 degrees.


Answer

Images from dashboard cameras can be used in legal proceedings but their evidential value all depends on the quality of the images and what they show. Just because a camera has captured an incident does not automatically mean that the police will be able to take action in every case – it will all depend on the circumstances.

Some police forces allow you to submit evidence captured on dashboard cameras via the internet, whilst others don't. It will all depend on your local police as to whether they provide this service. If they don't, you would need to contact them via the non-emergency 101 number for guidance.

In any case, it's important to remember that whilst a dashboard camera may be recording someone else's driving, it's also recording your own. Camera footage that shows that the driver doing the filming is using a mobile phone, driving aggressively or committing other traffic offences may result in them being prosecuted as well. Additionally, footage that reveals loud music blaring out, bad language or an aggressive attitude will also affect a court's decision.


Answer

Following a change to the law, the EU has implemented a system to share driver details across borders. This means that if you commit any of the offences listed below whilst driving in another EU country after 06.05.17 and the authorities in that country request your details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in the UK, they will have to provide them. The offences are:

  1. drink driving;
  2. driving while under the influence of drugs;
  3. failing to stop at a red traffic light;
  4. failing to use a seat belt;
  5. failing to wear a safety helmet;
  6. using a mobile telephone or any other communication device while driving;
  7. speeding;
  8. use of a forbidden lane.

The details the DVLA will have to provide are:

  • the name and address of the person who was the registered keeper of the vehicle at the time of the alleged traffic offence;
  • the name and address of the person who was the owner of the vehicle at the time of the alleged traffic offence;
  • where that person is an individual, that person's date of birth;
  • where that person is not an individual, the legal status of that person;
  • the make and model of the vehicle;
  • the chassis number of the vehicle.

Points to note:

  • The above only applies where the driver isn't penalised for the offence whilst still in the country.
  • The relevant country has 12 months from the date of the offence to apply for the information.
  • The fine levels will be the same as those in the country where the offence was committed.
  • Drivers who are planning on driving in EU can find out about traffic rules in other countries via the link below:

European Commission - Transport - Road Safety - Going Abroad


Answer

There are a number of different designs of L plate fixings available, as opposed to the traditional flat plastic plates that have been used for many years. Whilst the law doesn't specify how L plates must be attached to a vehicle, it does require that they must be displayed to the front and rear of a vehicle that's being driven by a learner and they must be the correct size – please see the link below:

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency - L plates

L plates should be removed from a vehicle when it's not being used by a learner.

If you fail to display an L plate on your vehicle when you're learning to drive or if it's the wrong size, you can be fined and receive up to 6 penalty points on your driving licence.


Answer

It's a mistake to assume that your car insurance automatically covers you to drive to and from work. In order to use your car in this way your policy must cover you for commuting purposes. This is often referred to as social, domestic, pleasure and commuting cover.

Additionally, commuting cover will only allow you to drive to/from your usual place of work. If you use your vehicle to go to a meeting, conference or seminar etc. whilst at work you will require business cover.

If you are unsure whether your car insurance includes this, you will need to check your insurance certificate and policy documents. Then, if you are still uncertain, contact your insurer and clarify the matter with them.

If you are stopped by the police and they have reasonable grounds to believe your insurance isn't valid, they can seize your car and you can be prosecuted. The penalty for using a vehicle without insurance is a £300 fixed penalty and 6 penalty points or if the matter goes to court, an unlimited fine and 6 to 8 penalty points.


Answer

A red X tells drivers that a lane is closed and must not be used - it's against the law to drive in a lane marked by a red X but drivers should also be aware that:

  • Driving in a lane with a red X is very dangerous not only for them but also for anyone stopped/working on the carriageway ahead.
  • Red X signs sometimes must be shown well ahead of an incident so that emergency vehicles can gain access.

The red X can be shown on signs located on the verge of the carriageway or on signs above each lane across the carriageway.

From the 10th June 2019, motorway cameras will be able to be used to automatically catch drivers who drive in a lane with a red X. The penalty is £100 and 3 penalty points on your driving record.

The link below provides more information about driving on a smart motorway:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway

Note that:

  • The red X sign can be used on any motorway not just a smart motorway but it still means the same thing i.e. that a lane is closed and MUST NOT be used.
  • The cameras can also be used to detect and prosecute drivers who unlawfully drive on the hard shoulder.


Answer

No - if you drive/park a vehicle on the road that is not taxed or insured you will be committed two offences and your vehicle could be seized.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

If you can't find the answer?

Submit A Question