Most Common Driving Offences and How to Avoid Them

There are few feelings worse than driving along and seeing the flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror signalling you to pull over. Chances are you’ll usually know what it is you’ve done, but do you know how much trouble you’re in, how much you’ll be fined or what penalties may await you? Read on as Scrap Car Comparison guides you through some of the most common driving offences on British roads, and what you can do to avoid becoming a future statistic.

A lot of the offences you can see below will be down to the driver, but you’ll be able to avoid some of them by simply keeping on top of your car and ensuring that any significant damages are taken care of. If you’re looking out at a broken car or knackered old van and knowing that it’s just a ticking time bomb, then the best thing you can do is use Scrap Car Comparison’s industry-leading service to get the very best price for your old vehicle. We’ll scour the local area to ensure you’re getting the very best price you can, before one of our collection agents will come and collect the vehicle from a location convenient to you, wherever you may be. Our advisors are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the process, so give them a call today and get a quote in just 60 seconds.


Over a quarter of all driving offences are due to driving above the speed limit, and over a ten year period there were almost 16 million speeding convictions. A large number of these speeding penalties consisted of drivers receiving fines of over £200 or even a six-month driving ban. This isn’t always just the standard exceeding the road limit, but also driving above the limits for the specific vehicles that you’re driving, such as goods or passenger vehicles. 

Avoiding a speeding fine is quite simple: don’t go too fast. Your speedometer is there for a reason, and is there to ensure that you are staying within the limits at any point whilst driving. If your speedo isn’t working, then best get it to a garage pronto. All cars must have a working speedometer capable of displaying both kilometres per hour (kph) and miles per hour (mph). To ensure you don’t inadvertently speed en route to the garage to get this fixed, download an app for your phone that can display the speed for you, based on GPS technology. However, you’ll need to make sure this is safely secured and visible, otherwise you could fall foul of the next common driving offence…

Using a mobile phone

We’ve all been frustrated at a car ahead, wondering why it seems to be in a world of its own, drifting across the lane – then you get to a safe place to overtake, or pull out on a dual carriageway to get around them only to find that, of course, they were on their mobile phone. Driving while using a mobile is incredibly dangerous, and will land you an on-the-spot fine of £200.

Using a phone can feel like second nature these days, and those tiny computers are fast becoming extensions of the human body, but you’ll need to resist that urge when behind the wheel. Phone holders can be incredibly useful, particularly if you’re using your phone as a sat-nav, but make sure you at no point interact with the device, as this will be breaking the law.

Driving without insurance

Driving an uninsured car is a quick way to ensure your bank account is £300 lighter and to find yourself with six penalty points on your driving licence. Unfortunately it’s one of the more common convictions likely to be found on the road, whether intentional or not, and it can result in a very tricky situation if the uninsured car happened to be involved in an accident, as insurers are unlikely to pay-out if the accident involves an uninsured driver. 

The police may also seize the car if they find an uninsured vehicle  on the road, so it’s best to make sure you keep on top of your renewal date. Insurance is a black and white matter, you’re either insured or not, and even if you’ve accidentally let your insurance slip by a day, if you’re caught, there’s no argument to help you.

Failing to provide identity of driver

Some 16% of driving convictions in 2021 were due to the failure to provide the identity of a driver, but what does this mean exactly? Well, in some cases you’re served with a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). The NIP is sent to the registered keeper of the driver, who must then provide the details of who was behind the wheel at the time. If you don’t know who this was, you’ll need to provide a reason why, otherwise you could end up arguing your case in court.

Drink/Drug Driving

It’s concerning but driving under the influence (DUI) convictions are actually on the rise in the UK, and while the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood, the advice is to have a zero tolerance when it comes to drinking and driving. Drug driving is just as bad and should have an equally zero tolerance.

If you’re found to be driving while under the influence of either drink or drugs, then you could find yourself with a disqualification and possibly jail time. An easy way to ensure you avoid falling foul of any of these is to make sure you are nowhere near your car when you’ve been out drinking or using other inebriants. 

Careless and Dangerous driving

Careless and dangerous driving are actually two entirely different offences, but we’ve put them together here as they fall under the same umbrella. Careless driving is for those temporary lapses in concentration – such as swerving out of your lane, or missing a red light, while dangerous driving is reserved for those moments where you intentionally put you, or others, in a dangerous position. Dangerous driving includes overtaking on blind bends, exceeding the speed limit by a significant margin or consciously racing another driver on the public highway.

Careless driving can see you fined between £100 and £2,500 with potential jail time for the worst offences, whereas dangerous driving is likely to see you disqualified and spend some time behind bars. Keep your wits about you to ensure you don’t fall under the careless driving categories, and just be sensible and you should avoid dangerous driving convictions – and also avoid any potential trips to casualty, or worse.

Driving while disqualified

Disqualification means that you’re not allowed to drive, but that doesn’t stop some people from thinking they’re still okay to get behind the wheel. If you’re caught driving when you’re seeing out a disqualification, the ban will be extended and you could end up in court. In some cases you may even find yourself spending some time at His Majesty’s Pleasure as a result.

Driving without an MOT

One of the rules of the road is that your car must be in a roadworthy condition at all times, and this includes ensuring your MOT is up to date. Contrary to urban myths, there is no ‘grace period’ for MOT failures or an MOT lapse. Once your MOT has expired, that’s it. The only exception to this rule is if you are driving to a pre-booked MOT test at an approved test centre. Roadworthiness can catch many people out, including the condition of your tyres – ensure that they’re always running with the minimum legal tread depth at least, or you could face an on-the-spot fine of £100 and penalty points on your licence. You’re also putting yourself and other road users at risk, so always make sure you’re keeping on top of your car’s conditions.

Driving a stolen vehicle

If you’ve jumped in a car that isn’t yours and taken it for a spin, be prepared to pay out big time. Joyriding, as it’s also known, is as far removed from the jolly sounding title as you can get, and you’re likely to be facing a £5,000 fine, a community order and at least six months in prison if you’re caught stealing a car. If you cause any damage while in control of a stolen vehicle, then these penalties will rise accordingly. 

Want to avoid getting stung with one of the harshest penalties found in the British rule book? Then don’t steal a car. Easy.

If you’re looking at some of these penalties in concern, particularly those surrounding the roadworthiness of your current set of wheels, then Scrap Car Comparison is here to help you out. No matter the condition of your car or van, and wherever you call home, we’ll be able to provide you with the very best price in a quick and hassle-free manner. Make a call to our team today or use our instant quote generator to see just how much your vehicle could be worth.

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