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Advice on Road Safety on Injury Prevention Day

View profile for Michael Pace
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The third Wednesday in August (21st August 2019) is Injury Prevention Day, when APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) wants people to think about what they can do to help prevent harm.

This year the focus is on avoiding needless injuries on our roads. People are being invited to share simple safe driving tips or mottos that have stuck with them and helped them to be a better and safer driver.

There are lots of myths surrounding motor law, so we thought we’d share some of the most popular ones to help drivers prevent needless crashes and subsequent injuries.

Myth 1: It’s OK to hold your phone while driving if you’re using it as a sat-nav

It is no excuse to say you’re simply following the directions on your hand-held device and that's why you've picked it up. The mobile phone law refers to this, stating it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile whilst involved in an 'interactive communication'. Downloading from the internet is just that. This would attract a six-point penalty and a fine.

If you wish to use smartphone navigation or a mapping app, fix the phone to the windscreen or dashboard, so it’s in clear view for use while driving (but not obstructing your view), without requiring you to hold or interact with it.

Myth 2: It is legal to have your fog lights on while driving at any time

You should not use your front or rear fog lights unless visibility is less than 100 yards.

If you can see the headlights of the car behind then they can see you. You should then turn off your fog lights. This is especially so when in queuing traffic when you are dazzling the driver behind.

Having the front fog lights on does not usually assist you in seeing any further, but you can dazzle oncoming traffic. This could be deemed to be Inconsiderate Driving and attract three or more points and a fine.

It doesn't make your car any faster either!

Myth 3: You are allowed to drive 10% over the speed limit

The speedometer in most cars these days shows a higher speed than you are actually travelling at. The Construction and Use regulations require a speedometer to be made so as to operate within a 10% margin. Typically, car manufacturers cause them to run fast so that drivers are not prosecuted.

A lot of police forces these days will prosecute at the 10% mark, eg 33 in a 30mph limit and 77 in a 70 limit. In theory they can prosecute at 1mph over the limit but this is unlikely.

Myth 4: If I have fully comprehensive insurance, anyone can drive my vehicle.

Many people assume that if they have fully comprehensive insurance, they can let anyone drive their vehicle. This cannot be further from the truth unless the certificate clearly states that the vehicle is covered 'for any driver with the permission of the policyholder'. Often this comes with a further clause of 'any driver must be 25 years of age or more'.

Neither can it be assumed that a 'fully comp' policy will allow you to drive any other vehicle unless it clearly states on the certificate that you are covered to do so. In this case, there is usually a further clause to say that the vehicle you are going to drive must already be covered by a policy of insurance (in the owner’s name).

For more information on using your mobile phone while driving see What is 'Using a mobile phone'? - High Court Ruling

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