gtag('consent', 'default', { 'ad_storage': 'denied', 'wait_for_update': 500 });
  • Affordable monthly payments

    Affordable monthly payments

    Deals with competitive APR & Interest rates

  • Huge car choice

    Huge car choice

    Choose from any reputable FCA Approved dealer

  • Reviews

    Reviews Star

    Rated excellent by our Customers

  • Decision in minutes

    Decision in minutes

    From a huge range of trustworthy lenders

There are a lot of myths surrounding the legality of various driving laws and car-related activities. You know you shouldn’t speed and you know you shouldn’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But is it OK to drink non-alcoholic beer and drive? Is it OK to drive without shoes on? Lots of activities that feel like they should be OK aren’t OK, and lots of activities that seem like a bad idea are perfectly legal. Many of them we do on an almost daily basis without even considering it. There are lots of grey areas and some of these things come down to the discretion of individual police forces and their officers.

Here are some of the most common ‘Is it legal to drive…’ questions and you may even find out some driving offences you didn’t know were illegal!

Is it illegal to drive barefoot?

No ❌

The rules around what you wear (or don’t wear) on your feet whilst driving aren’t clearly defined. What matters is how the footwear in question affects your ability to drive. If a police officer pulls you over for dangerous or careless driving and notices that you aren’t wearing any shoes, they might attribute your poor driving to your lack of footwear. So, whilst not technically illegal, it might lead to a fine or penalty points if the police officer deems it appropriate. Careless driving carries an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points. If it ends up going to court, this can be increased to £5,000 and nine penalty points or even a driving ban.

Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen?

Yes ✅

You shouldn’t drive with a larger crack that blocks your view or compromises the stability of the entire windscreen. The Highway Code states drivers must have a full view of the road ahead and glass should be in a good condition. As long as it doesn’t obscure the view in front of you, you can drive with a small chip or crack in the screen but it is recommended you get it fixed before it turns into a larger issue.

question about illegal driving offence

Is it illegal to drive in flip-flops?

No ❌

As already discussed, no particular footwear is illegal but a police officer can fine you if they think your shoes are responsible for careless driving. Regardless of the legality, driving in flip-flops might not be the most sensible idea. You should always choose something that offers stability and good grip so you don’t slip off the pedals. At the other end of the spectrum, wellies or big boots might be too thick and prevent you from feeling the pedals beneath your feet. You could press the wrong pedal or miss it altogether. If your shoes are too wide, you might accidentally press two pedals at once. This rules out many types of shoes despite none in particular being illegal.

Is it illegal to drive with headphones on?

No ❌

Headphones, just like footwear, occupy a bit of a grey area. They’re not actually illegal, but if a police officer decides they are a distraction and have resulted in bad driving, you could be stuck with that £100 on-the-spot fine, or worse. The fact that they’re way more conspicuous than shoes should make you think twice before putting them on.

Is it illegal to drive with a missing wing mirror?

Yes ✅

The short answer is ‘yes’ but it depends on which wing mirror is missing. The driver’s side wing mirror must always be intact. If it’s hanging off or completely missing, it is illegal to drive the vehicle. You can drive without the passenger-side wing mirror, as long as you have a functioning rear-view mirror. Another way to think of it is that you must have two out of three functioning mirrors, and one of them has to be the driver’s wing mirror.

Is it illegal to drive a car with interior lights on?

driving with lights on in car

No ❌

Driving with the interior lights on isn’t illegal but, as with so many things on our list, a police officer could penalise you for it anyway. If they think the light could be a distraction to you or that it could dazzle other drivers, you could be pulled over and fined on the spot.

Is it illegal to eat and drive?

No ❌

No, it’s not illegal to eat behind the wheel unless it affects your ability to drive. It could carry a careless driving penalty if the police decide your snack was to blame. Something you might not have considered involves the drive-through. If you use Google Pay or Apple Pay to buy your food, make sure your engine is off and your handbrake is on, otherwise, you risk getting a fine for using your phone whilst driving.

Is it illegal to smoke and drive?

✅ Yes and No ❌

Smoking whilst driving is not illegal but, as with eating and drinking, if it causes distraction you could face a charge of careless driving.

However, recent changes in the law do make it illegal to smoke if you’re travelling with anyone under the age of 18 years old.

Is it illegal to drink non-alcoholic beer and drive?

No ❌

It’s only illegal to drive when you’re over the limit so drinking a non-alcoholic beer is no different to drinking a cup of coffee or bottle of water. But, as with eating, a police officer could consider it a distraction and a reason to issue a careless driving fine. Because non-alcoholic beer looks and smells like normal beer, it’s probably best not to give the police a reason to pull you over.

Is it illegal to drive on CBD oil?

No ❌

Most of us know that driving whilst under the influence of drugs like cannabis is illegal but what about Cannabidiol? Since legal CBD oils contain such low levels of THC, which is the psycho-active component of Cannabis that makes you high, there’s no law against driving with them in your system. Everyone reacts differently though so you should, of course, figure out how CBD affects you before getting behind the wheel.

However,  it is not recommended you drive after taking it for the first time.

Is it illegal to drive without an MOT certificate? 

Yes ✅

If you drive a car that has an invalid MOT certificate, you could receive a fine of up to £1,000 and have the car impounded.  Once expired, you’re only allowed to drive your car if your MOT is booked and you’re on the way to the test centre. You’ll need to prove this to the police if they pull you over.

Is it illegal to sleep in your car?

✅ Yes and No ❌

It is perfectly legal to sleep in your car provided you are parked in a designated rest stop or parking space. The surprising exception to this rule comes when alcohol is involved – it is illegal to sleep in your car if you’re over the legal drink-drive limit because you are not allowed to be ‘in charge’ of a vehicle whilst drunk. It’s a sensible decision when the alternative is drink-driving but, but if you want to avoid a fine, you should leave the car and get a taxi home instead.

man sleeping on tree

Is it illegal to clamp a car on private land?

Yes ✅

It might be a huge pain to find someone parked on your land but only lawful authorities, like the DVLA or police, are allowed to immobilise or move a vehicle. The Protection of Freedoms Act makes it an offence to use a wheel clamp, even on your own property, so it’s best to phone the police if you find yourself in this situation.

Related articles: 

cars in traffic jam on UK road

How are traffic jams caused? 

worst driving habits

Worst driving habits to have. 

uk road signs

The UK’s most misunderstood road signs.