DRIVERS unaware of seven unexpected laws could face thousands of pounds in penalties over summer.
As the heatwave takes hold of parts of the UK, motorists flocking to the beach or on holidays need to keep these rules in mind.
From snacking behind the wheel, letting the car get too hot or wearing the wrong clothing, these little-known rules could catch some people out.
For new drivers, this summer might be the first time they have independence behind the wheel.
James Armstrong, CEO of Veygo, says while it’s exciting to head off for adventures this summer, make sure to watch out for some unexpected fines that could catch you off guard.
"Many of us will be keen to make the most of the hot weather and get on the road with a trip to the beach or on holiday.
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“If you are heading off on long journeys for the first time, it could be worth splitting the driving with a friend with temporary insurance cover to keep you both refreshed and alert."
Here's seven easily-forgotten rules known to catch drivers out.
WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES
Motorists who cause an accident in the incorrect shoes could end up being charged with driving without due care and attention under the Road Traffic Act of 1988.
Anyone found guilty faces a fine of up to £5,000 as well as a minimum of three and maximum of 11 points on your licence.
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According to the DVSA, drivers must have a sturdy sole, no thicker than 10mm, have enough grip to stop your foot slipping off the pedals, not be too heavy, not limit or restrict ankle movement and be narrow enough to avoid accidentally pressing two pedals at once.
Mr Armstrong, whose company Veygo offers short term car insurance, said: “These can all hinder your driving capabilities; but before you set off, pop your shoes of choice in the boot, ready to slip on when you arrive at your destination and have a suitable pair of shoes in the car to drive in.”
KEEP THE AIR FLOWING
During the summer months cars can get hot, so it's vital to keep the cool air flow flowing throughout so you remain alert on the road.
Mr Armstrong said: "If you find yourself feeling sleepy then you should pull over in a safe place and take a break.
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"Don't forget to keep your car cool too and make sure your coolant is topped up before heading out to avoid the engine overheating."
Open a window or turn on the air-con to avoid £1,000 fine for not having proper control of your vehicle.
RESTRAIN PLAYFUL PUPS
Dogs or animals caught by cops being rowdy and out of control while driving could land motorists an £100 fine and three licence points.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states "when in a vehicle, make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained".
Mr Armstrong advised: “When the sun comes out, we love a trip down to the coast with our four-legged friends.
"However, this trip can soon take a turn if your pet is not strapped in properly, as they can obstruct your view of the road and could cause harm to themselves, you or other road users.”
Veygo says drivers need to be reminded that clothing can impact our ability to drive safely in hot or sunny conditions.
According to Mr Armstrong, inappropriate clothing can include loose or baggy clothes and long skirts.
He says these are able to become trapped in the chair or door or pedals and potentially restrict your movement.
Mr Armstrong explained: “Drivers could also be caught out with a £100 fine and 3 points if they are driving in sunny weather without wearing sunglasses, as it can be difficult to see the road clearly with the glare from the sun beaming through your windscreen.
"If you are caught losing control of the car, you will be at risk of receiving a £1,000 fine and 3 points on your licence.”
DON'T OVERLOAD THE CAR
Just as dogs can get in the way while driving, so can too much luggage or an overload of items.
Although it might be tempting to fill a car up to the brink before heading off on holiday, a police officer might catch you out with a $50 fine.
Mr Armstrong said: "If your vision is reduced or restricted, you are at risk of being fined £50 and 3 penalty points, as outlined in annex 6 of the Highway Code, windscreens and windows must be kept clean and free from obstruction of vision when driving. "
FOOD CAN WAIT
If you are spotted chomping down on a snack behind the wheel whilst driving, you could face a £200 fine and 6 points for driving without due care and attention.
Mr Armstrong admits there's is no better way to complete a trip on a sunny day than with a 99 flake ice cream but it could end up costing you far more.
He said: "If you need to grab a bite to eat, pull over and enjoy your food or better yet, stop and take a break from driving while you have lunch”
FIND A BETTER PLACE TO SLEEP
Under section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is against the law to be "driving or in charge of a motor vehicle" if you are over the alcohol limit.
Even if the car is stationary, you could still cop a fine.
Mr Armstrong said: "After a night out, party or festival, you should not sleep in your car.
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"If you’re sleepy, find alternative accommodation to avoid fines up to £2,500.”
"If you are in an unfit state to be behind the wheel, make sure you insure your friend or parent on your vehicle with temporary cover. "
Veygo’s top tips for drivers
Watch what you wear – make sure your clothes and shoes don’t restrict your movement, and if they do, keep your coolest ‘fit in the boot and get changed once you arrive.
Keep your cool – hot weather can cause drowsiness, so keep the air-con on, make sure you stay hydrated and take a break if you’re feeling sleepy. Don’t forget to look after your car too – keep your coolant topped up so it doesn’t overheat.
Limit distractions – summer is the time for day trips with mates and four-legged friends, but for new drivers in particular, distractions can be dangerous. Make sure all passengers (canine or otherwise) are safely strapped in and don’t distract you.
Don’t overpack – whether heading off camping or for a day at the beach, make sure any luggage is compactly packed, out of sight and doesn’t restrict your view out of any windows.
Take it slow – if you’re new to the roads or it’s your first time driving in hot and sunny conditions, take it slow and go at your own pace. Summer can mean heavy traffic, so leave plenty of time for your journey, plan ahead and take regular breaks – you could even split the driving with a friend using temporary cover.
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