Did you know that the police can stop a vehicle for any reason at all? They also have the power to give drivers on-the-spot fines, and in some circumstances, request you take a breathalyser test. Sounds scary, but of course it is in our best interests that police have this kind of power; It keeps us safe and protected while we’re out on the road.
Naturally, no one wants to be pulled over by the police, no one wants to risk a fine. Take a look at the five most common reasons drivers are stopped and see if there are any bad habits you’re picking up that makes you a dangerous driver.
- Driving too fast
It never seems like a big deal until something goes wrong. A common myth is that police give a little leeway on speeds they’ll penalise drivers for, but a recent crackdown has almost eliminated that safety net. Guidelines suggest a minimal 2mph margin either side of the speed limit, but police are well within their right to ignore those guidelines and distribute a fine. It is more than possible for drivers to be pulled over and penalised for driving 31mph in a 30mph zone, for example.
- Driving too slow
Similarly, driving too slow in inappropriate zones can be classed dangerous for other drivers. On dual carriageways and motorways, for example, other drivers will be expecting you to be going at least 60mph. To travel any slower will surprise other drivers and cause them to have to alter their driving to accommodate you.
- Using your phone in any way
Brought in to UK law this year, this new law is catching drivers out nationwide. Whether you’re stopped at traffic lights, queueing in traffic, or even supervising a learner driver, it is illegal to use your mobile phone while driving. Hands-free devices such as a Bluetooth headset, a voice command feature, or a dashboard holders are permitted, although police still have the authority to stop and prosecute you if they feel you are not in control of your vehicle.
The penalty for using your phone while driving can be severe, with 6 points on your licence and a £200 fine given as standard. If you have passed your test in the past two years, it is wholly possible for you to lose your licence entirely.
- Ineffective equipment
Broken windshields, faulty brake lights or headlamps, or defective rear view mirrors can both limit how well you can see other drivers and how well they can see you. Police may pull your vehicle over if any of your equipment is noticeably damaged, so make sure that your vehicle is in top shape.
- Not wearing a seatbelt
Not only are you liable to a fine of up to £500 if you are caught without a seatbelt, drivers are also responsible for ensuring their passengers are being safe, too. Children under the age of 12, or under the height of 135cm (whichever comes first), must be placed in the correctly sized car seat, while anyone else must be suitably strapped in.
If you are stopped while driving, it’s important to stay calm and cooperate with the police while they do their job. Pull over to an appropriate area as soon as it is safe to do so, and wait for the police officer to approach you. Drivers may be asked for their licence, insurance certificate, and MOT certificate, for which they are given seven days to produce. It is not against the law to refuse payment of a fixed penalty if you think it has been given unjustly, however, you must be prepared to argue your case in court to avoid the fine.