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SEAT has identified the top five motoring myths believed by UK drivers.

According to a survey that asked 2,000 UK motorists whether certain statements about driving were true, the top five myths are as follows:

  1.  You are not allowed to drive barefoot – 52% Whilst it’s not illegal to drive barefoot, it is the responsibility of the driver to always ensure that they’re in full control of the vehicle. Driving barefoot does not afford the same braking response as driving in a sturdy shoe, and other factors, such as if the driver’s feet are wet, may jeopardise the driver’s control of the vehicle. It is therefore strongly recommended drivers always drive in suitable footwear.
  2. You are not allowed to drive in flip flops or Wellington boots – 49% As above, it’s not illegal to drive in flip flops or Wellingtons, but it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that they’re always in full control of the vehicle.
  3. The only time you can enter an active bus lane is to let an emergency vehicle pass – 47% Drivers can still receive a fine for entering a bus lane to let an emergency vehicle pass. In fact, there’s a good chance this vehicle will use the bus lane to avoid traffic, so it can be unhelpful if drivers move into it. Should you find yourself in a bus lane, you should always endeavour to exit as soon as possible if it is safe to do so.
  4. Children under the age of 12 must sit in the backseat – 38% In fact, children under the age of 12 can sit in either the front or back of the car. However, if they are in the front of a car in a rearward facing child car seat, then the passenger airbag must be deactivated. It is illegal if the airbag is active. It is also imperative to use the correct child seat for under 12s or those under 1.35m in height. Despite the law allowing it, it is strongly recommended that children always sit in the back seat of a car in the appropriate child restraint.
  5. It is illegal to drive at night with the interior light on – 37% Perhaps the quirkiest on the list, there is no law to say that driving at night with the interior light on is illegal, despite it often being cited as such. Whilst legal, it may be that if a driver is pulled over and the interior lights are determined to have impaired the driver’s vision, then they could be charged with careless driving.

UK drivers and The Highway Code

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With motoring misconceptions in mind, SEAT asked UK drivers when they last read the Highway Code and discovered that the majority (51%) had failed to read it in the last five years or had never read it at all.

This goes some way to explain why close to half of UK drivers (48%) don’t know what the ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is, following the new system’s introduction last year. The hierarchy system was added to the Highway Code in January 2022 and places road users that are most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the ‘scale’.

The ability to understand the Highway Code was determined not to be a factor for the Code’s low readership as more than half of drivers (52%) think it is easy to understand, with a further 32% regarding it as neither easy nor difficult to understand.

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