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22 driving laws you might have broken


One might reasonably expect the legalities surrounding driving to be a lot simpler than other laws. You exceed the posted speed limit. You don’t stop at a red light. You park on the double yellow line. Laws penalising these transgressions make sense because they fit into a logical system that is drilled isnto us by driving instructors across the land and beautifully illustrated in the handy Highway Code.

When it comes to complex things like copyright, libel and slander, property conveyancing etc, one can understand why the legal system gets a whole lot more complicated. In those areas there are no red lights, road markings or luminous signs to warn one of legal pitfalls.

But the laws of the road are clearly not as simple or obvious as we might assume and every day millions of drivers still offend without realising it. In addition to the well publicised rules surrounding mobile phones, seatbelts, number plates and speeding, there are plenty of technicalities waiting to catch you unawares. The penalties for ignoring them can hurt both your wallet and your driver’s licence.

For example, some acts of kindness are frowned upon by the authorities. The well-meant activity of warning oncoming drivers of an imminent police speed trap by flashing your headlamps is, in fact, illegal and could net you a hefty fine.

Some hazards are really quite obscure and take some lateral thinking to anticipate. Using a contactless debit card to pay for your drive-through meal is fine. However, using a contactless phone app to pay for your drive-through meal can get you into trouble.

Thankfully some rules are rooted in common sense and consideration for others: splashing pedestrians, swearing at other road users and beeping your horn in a stationary traffic jam. Even the requirement to keep Acrylic number plates clean seems fairly sensible. We suspect that few people would have strong objections to those.

Below we have collected some of the lesser known rules of the UK’s roads. There may be one or two that you've broken without even realising!

While every effort has been made to research this article thoroughly and to check the facts presented, Regtransfers publishes this article and infographic for the purpose of entertainment only. It should not be considered a valid source for legal reference. If in doubt regarding a point of motoring law, please consult your local constabulary for advice.

Related content: Check out our related post that examines where the most penalty notices are issued for various types of driving offences. Also, stay up to date on official number plate regulations

Regtransfers offers the UK's widest selection of cherished number plates for sale. While you're here why not browse our database and see what we have for you?

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The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated to the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, learn how to transfer private plates before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

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