What is legal at the wheel? Study finds plenty of us still don’t know

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A UK driving licence shown beside a counterpart driving licence, London.

Everyone knows the laws regarding what you can and can't do behind the wheel - don't we? Apparently not, according to a recent survey by car buying service Robins & Day. It found that a large proportion of us don't really know what we legally can and can't do while driving – and it could result in some hefty fines.

The survey found, for example, that 26 per cent of people aged 18-24 think it's legal to use the car horn while stationary. As a matter of fact, it's actually illegal, and could result in a £1,000 fine if caught.


8 per cent of drivers thought that throwing an apple core or banana peel from the window was legal, but it's actually littering, and can carry a £75 fine. Meanwhile, splashing pedestrians with a puddle isn't just irritating – it's illegal, and can lead to a £100 fixed penalty.

It also found 11 per cent of people believed sleeping in your car while drunk to be perfectly fine. In fact, you could be found to be 'in charge' of your vehicle while drunk, and therefore could be arrested. This may lead to a fine, points on your license, or even a driving ban.

The survey also found a large proportion of drivers are more cautious than they need to be. Of those surveyed, 55 per cent thought that eating and drinking at the wheel was illegal, while 69 per cent thought it was illegal to smoke while driving. Both are still legal unless they lead to dangerous driving, when they're punishable by fines. Smoking is also illegal if there's a child in the car.

Of young drivers aged 18-24, 88 per cent wrongly thought wearing headphones at the wheel was illegal, and 65% thought playing loud music was illegal. Happily, both are perfectly legal unless they lead to a distraction and an accident.