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Six bad driving habits that could land you a hefty fine

By David G Scott

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If you think you don't need to indicate when there are no other drivers on the road, think again.

Just because there are no motorists around, doesn't mean you don't have to signal for pedestrians – and if you fail to do this you could face a fine of up to £2500.

Alongside not indicating, many motorists are unaware that some of the bad driving habits they’ve picked up are illegal and could land them with a hefty fine or penalty points.

Drivers can find themselves in serious trouble if they develop bad habits on the road.
Drivers can find themselves in serious trouble if they develop bad habits on the road.

Ben Smithson, a car insurance expert at price comparison service Uswitch Limited, said: “It’s not uncommon for drivers to pick up bad habits on the road, even if they have been driving for years. However, many are unaware that they could be illegal and dangerous.

“Offences such as tailgating and driving below the speed limit increase the risk of an accident and are not only punishable but could also invalidate an insurance policy if a claim is made.”

Uswitch, explored six of the UK’s most frustrating driving habits in a bid to reveal the consequences you could face if caught in the act:

Tailgating – £100 and three points on your license.

Tailgating is when another motorist fails to keep a safe distance when driving behind you – usually a two-second gap – and is dangerously close to the tail of your vehicle. While it can often be unintentional, many drivers tailgate to express their frustration if they think you’re driving too slow, or you’re holding them up. It can also occur when a driver is trying to stop other road users from moving into their lane.

Although it may not seem like a punishable offence, tailgating greatly increases the chances of an accident, especially if the driver in front needs to brake sharply as therewon’t be enough space for you to stop. It is also a huge cause of road rage and can make drivers feel intimidated or unsafe.

Parking across two bays – £25 to £100 fine.

Whether a driver has carelessly parked outside the designated lines or has deliberately taken up two spots, it can be extremely annoying when you’re looking for a place to park.

In many instances, expensive car owners hoping to protect their motor from damage will intentionally park across two bays, but is there a penalty?

It usually depends on the type of car park you're in, as different rules may apply. Many pay-and-display car parks state that vehicles must be left within the limits of a marked bay, suggesting if you park across two, you could risk being fined. This also applies to residential parking bays, where leaving your vehicle outside the lines of the space could lead to a penalty from a traffic warden.

Driving too slowly – A verbal warning to a maximum fine of £5000.

Even though our attention is normally focused on speeding, driving too slowly can also land you a hefty fine. It may not seem like a dangerous act, however driving below the speed limit has the potential to enrage other motorists, encouraging dangerous behaviour on the roads.

It could provoke tailgating, alongside unsafe overtaking procedures which increase the risk of a collision.

Driving too slow can also cause congestion, which could become distracting and dangerous for some motorists.

Driving slowly can frustrate other road users and lead to accidents.
Driving slowly can frustrate other road users and lead to accidents.

Failing to use indicators – Disqualification, between three and nine points, or a fine up to £2500 depending on the nature of the incident.

It goes without saying that using your indicators to signal your intention to turn is a fundamental part of driving. However, many drivers may be unaware of one simple mistake that could land them a hefty fine.

Even if there are no cars on the road, failing to signal to pedestrians could land you in trouble.

The Highway Code says: "Signals warn and inform other road users, including pedestrians, of your intended actions."

Hogging the middle lane – £100 fine and three penalty points.

If you're driving on the motorway next to a middle lane hogger, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. The middle lane should only be used for overtaking, however it’s not uncommon to see motorists remaining there for longer than necessary.

Beeping your horn in frustration or for an unnecessary reason –– A fine of up to £5000.

If you’ve been known to beep your horn in a moment of rage, or you’ve used it to get the attention of friends on the roadside, you may want to keep the noise down in future.

According to the Highway Code, drivers should only use their horns “while your vehicle is moving, and you need to warn other road users of your presence”.

It also states that drivers should never sound their horn aggressively – as this could result in a fine.

Beeping outside someone’s house to let them know you’ve arrived is also a no-no, as it’s illegal to sound your horn when you are stationary on the road, and when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am.

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