Drivers wearing flip flops this summer could 'risk getting hit with £5,000 fine'

A girl is driving her car wearing flip flops.
Wear clothing and footwear that won't impede your driving -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Summertime sees a change in wardrobe for the sun-starved Brits, from sunglasses to sundresses.

The long-awaited season has its pitfalls, specifically for drivers. Experts have warned motorists against certain summer habits that could land them in hot water, ranging from wearing inappropriate shoes to changing your music playlist - some activities that might surprise you.

To keep you from getting slapped by unexpected fines or acquiring points on your licence, Dorry Potter, an expert at National Scrap Car, offered a comprehensive list featuring warm weather habits that every driver should totally stay clear.

Driving with unsuitable footwear

Possible fine: £5,000 plus penalty points

It's common knowledge that flip flops aren't exactly the best choice of footwear for driving. They restrict foot movement and they can be impractical behind-the-wheel.

In fact, it is stated in Rule 97 of the highway code that clothing and footwear mustn't interfere with your ability to operate the vehicle's controls effectively. Therefore, if the police nab you flouting this rule or you're involved in a traffic incident while flaunting your sandals, you can be hit with a fine for "driving without due care and attention".

This offence carries an immediate £100 fine as well as three penalty points on your driving licence. If the case goes to court, drivers could face even harsher penalties, with fines escalating to a maximum of £5,000, nine penalty points, and the possibility of a driving ban.

To sidestep such severe consequences, it's wise for motorists to double-check their footwear before setting off or keep an extra pair of suitable shoes in the car.

Drink driving

A close up of the top portion of a warm, orange toned glass of a hazy IPA, India Pale Ale, beer, with foam on the glass
One drink can put you over the limit -Credit:Angelo DeSantis

Potential fine: Up to £2,500 fine + possible driving ban

When it comes to drinking and driving, the potential fine can reach up to £2,500, not to mention the risk of a driving ban.

The allure of day drinking in pub gardens is synonymous with British summertime, and the call of "Pub? " is hard to resist when the sun makes its appearance. However, mixing alcohol with driving is illegal, and it's crucial to know when to opt for non-alcoholic options if you're planning to drive.

Despite widespread knowledge that consuming alcohol while driving is illegal, around 85,000 individuals are still convicted of drink driving offences annually in England and Wales.

Moreover, a drink-driving conviction doesn't just end with legal penalties. It also leads to a substantial hike in car insurance premiums, and if your job depends on driving, employers will see the conviction on your licence.

It's challenging to provide a one-size-fits-all figure for alcohol limits as individual absorption rates vary based on factors like gender, weight, and stress levels.

The law in Scotland

There really is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit, which is why it's safest not to drink at all if you're driving.

The consequences of drink-driving in Scotland include:

  • You'll get a minimum 12-month driving ban

  • You could go to prison for up to 6 months or get a fine of up to £5000 - or both

  • The offence stays on your licence for 11 years

  • You might lose your vehicle

The current drink-drive alcohol limits in Scotland are as follows:

  • 22 microgrammes (mcg) of alcohol in 100 ml of breath

  • 50 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol in 100ml of blood

  • 67 milligrammes (mg) in 100 ml of urine

Changing the music on a playlist

Potential fine: £200 + penalty points

The songs you play in the car can make or break a road trip, but it's best not to lean over and change it yourself.

This could land drivers in a lot of trouble as it's easier to prosecute drivers who are caught using their phone whilst driving. Since March 2022, it's illegal to use your mobile phone behind the wheel - including to scroll through songs - and if caught, drivers could face a £200 fine as well as six points on their licence.

Leaving dogs in hot cars

English setter likes riding in car on a passenger seat.
Keep your dogs from overheating in summer weather -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Potential fine: Unlimited fine + potential jail sentence

Scotland and the rest of the UK recorded its hottest ever June last year as the mercury hit 30.7C. Any scorching weather this summer should ring alarm bells for pet owners.

The SSPCA and RSPCA has urged people to not leave dogs alone in the car on a hot day. Sadly, there are multiple cases of dogs being abandoned in hot cars every summer and this can have serious impacts on their health, leading to heatstroke and even death in the worst cases.

While it's not against the law, there are still severe repercussions. Drivers could be hit with an animal cruelty charge under the Animal Welfare Act, which can result in an unlimited fine and a six-month prison sentence in some cases.

Even though bystanders would never want to stand by and watch a dog suffer, charges of criminal damage can still be imposed for any attempts to break into a car - even if it is to rescue an animal. For immediate help, the best advice is to dial 112 or 999.

Taking hay fever medication

Potential fine: Unlimited fine + one-year driving ban

This time of year can also bring its own challenges as one in four people in the UK suffer from hay fever.

Many hay fever sufferers will use medication such as antihistamines to prevent the relentless sneezing and streaming eyes. And as innocent as that may seem, it's important to know that this could make you drowsy and impact your ability to drive.

Driving under the influence of any drug, including any prescription or over-the-counter medications, is illegal if it impairs your abilities. A conviction for drug-driving carries a minimum of a one-year driving ban and an unlimited fine, whilst the worst offences can carry a six-month jail sentence.

Overloading the vehicle

Potential fine: £300 + penalty points

Ever since Covid-19 stormed into our lives, packing up the car for a road trip or quick summer getaway has never been so exciting.

However, your holiday could quickly turn sour if you're caught overloading your car. It's easy to exceed the limit when you pack in luggage, food, toys and various other bits and bobs.

Drivers who cram too much into their vehicles are not only putting themselves and others at risk, but they're also committing an offence if they obstruct their rear view or exceed the vehicle's weight limit.

To avoid a potential £300 fine and three points on your licence, check your vehicle handbook for the maximum weight your car can carry.

Dorry Potter, a Car Expert from National Scrap Car, has said: "This warm weather has put a smile on everyone's face and people will want to make the most of it by jumping in the car and planning fun trips away. But as temperatures start to rise, it's important to be aware of the latest rules and laws that could find drivers in a lot of trouble."

"Being safe on the road is key to having a fun time this summer and the police will be clamping down on motorists to avoid as many accidents as possible when the roads are busy."

"The regulations are always changing for drivers so it's important to keep up to date, and with petrol costs continuing to rise in the UK along with the cost of living increases, the last thing anyone needs right now is to be lumped with a huge fine - if it can be avoided."

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