Is it illegal to drive barefoot? Experts debunk the most common driving myths

Lady holding hamburger to eat in car.

While many Brits consider themselves confident drivers, that doesn’t mean they aren’t guilty of believing and following a few false rules on the road.

In fact, Bristol Street Motors has spotted that searches about two common driving myths are surging. Over the past three months, queries for ‘is driving barefoot illegal’ and ‘can you use water instead of coolant’ have increased by 83% and 23%, respectively.

But driving myths aren’t just simple misunderstandings They can put yours and others’ safety at risk, not to mention potential in fines and points on your licence.

So, to help motorists separate fact from fiction, the automotive experts at Bristol Street Motors have analysed search data to reveal and debunk five of the most common driving myths.

Myth: Driving barefoot is illegal

Every month, over 5,000 Brits search to see whether driving barefoot is illegal. The good news for those with a penchant for driving without shoes is that it isn’t illegal. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to do, either.

Wearing sensible footwear is much safer than driving barefoot. Wear flat, thin-soled shoes that let you feel the pedals more easily. And make sure your shoes cannot slip off your feet easily, so that they do not become a distraction when driving.

Also, always avoid wearing high heels, flip-flops, or heavy boots when driving as they make it much harder to control your car.

Myth: You can use water instead of coolant

When your car is overheating, it can be tempting to use water instead of proper coolant. However, water lacks anti-corrosive ingredients which will cause rust in your engine, leading to leaks and damage.

However, in an emergency where water is your only option, use distilled water. Unlike tap water, which contains minerals that can harm your engine, distilled water has no impurities. Once the emergency is over, flush out all the water and refill it with coolant. If you are worried about the condition of your car after using water as a coolant, then you should get a summer check.

To make sure you don’t get caught out or have to use distilled water, keep some engine coolant in the boot of your car for emergencies.

Myth: You can’t eat and drive

Legally speaking, there’s nothing stopping you from eating and driving. However, if your snacking becomes a distraction, it could be considered careless driving. If you are found to be driving carelessly, you could be dealt a hefty £100 on-the-spot fine and three points on your licence.

If you do get the urge to snack, avoid messy foods that could steal your attention from the road. And if messy foods are all you have on hand, then it might be best to wait until you’re parked before tucking in.

Myth: Coasting saves fuel

With the technology in modern cars, it’s now an old misconception that coasting saves fuel. If anything, coasting could mean you are using more fuel than if you kept your car in gear. This is because coasting still requires a small amount of fuel in order to power the engine.

If you are conscious of fuel costs, the best way to conserve fuel is by letting the car slow down while in gear without pressing the accelerator.

As well as failing to save you money, coasting increases the risk of an accident. If your car is in neutral or the clutch is down when going downhill, your car will speed up more quickly. Making it much harder to steer, especially when going around corners. This lack of control can cause accidents, particularly when you’ll need to shift into gear when reacting to a hazard.

Myth: You can drive with a cracked windscreen

While there isn’t a specific law on cracked windscreen, it’s a motoring offence if the crack obstructs your view. If caught, you could face a £100 fine and receive three points on your driver’s licence.

According to MOT rules, your windscreen should have no more than 40mm of damage anywhere. Even a 10mm crack directly in the driver’s line of vision can result in MOT failure.

If you’re driving with a cracked windscreen and get into an accident, you might face more severe driving charges. The accident could be considered your responsibility as you had impaired visibility.

There you have it, the five most searched-for driving myths debunked.


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