Sometimes with so many rules it gets confusing what you are allowed and not allowed to do when driving.

Here are some answers from the RAC that debunk some of the common driving myths and remind you what the laws actually are.

Is it illegal to eat and drive?

It is not illegal - but if you present a significant danger while snacking the police could prosecute you for careless driving, if they think you are not in complete control of your vehicle.

Is it illegal to drink when driving?

Again, it is not illegal but the same careless driving rules apply if the police believe it is making you a danger.

Is it illegal to smoke while driving?

Yes, sometimes. Smoking at the wheel is not an offence in itself unless it leads to careless driving. It is illegal to smoke in a car that is carrying under-18s. This came into effect in 2015, although the law is not being enforced by the majority of police forces.

Is it illegal to have a light on in the car while driving?

Police have the right to tell you to turn it off if they perceive it to be a distraction but it is not against the law.

Is it illegal to have open alcohol in a car?

No. In some American states it is, but in the UK it is not illegal for a passenger to drink while being driven in a car, so by default it is not illegal to have open alcohol containers in a car. It is however, illegal to drink alcohol in a car while supervising a learner driver - and of course drivers can only drive if they are under the national drink-drive limit.

Is it illegal to drive with headphones on?

There is no law against this but it is highly inadvisable to do so. It could fall under driving without due care and attention and careless driving, should a police officer deem it so. Music or talking in your ears can be a huge distraction and could mean you're unable to hear traffic warnings or emergency sirens.

Is it ok to make a phone call using a hands-free system?

Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is illegal, punishable by six points on your licence and a £200 fine. It isn’t illegal to have a conversation using a hands-free mobile phone, however. Voice-controlled Bluetooth systems eradicate the need to touch your phone, but if you have to handle your phone to make a call, that’s breaking the law – even if you’re using a set of headphones. It’s not the speaking that’s illegal, it's the physical operation of the phone.

What are the rules on driving with a sat nav?

Sat navs have to be in a fixed position, either on your windscreen or your dashboard, but the dashboard is recommended so your view isn't impeded. This includes using your smartphone as a sat nav.

Are women better drivers than men?

This is a difficult one to answer, not least because of the issue of discrimination. According to a study from on driving habits in rental cars, female drivers exceed the speed limit 17.5 per cent more often than men, but men are five times more likely to cause damage to a rental car than female motorists.

Data from an NCP survey also proved women are better at parking than male motorists, scoring 13.4 out of 20 for manoeuvring compared to an average 12.3 for guys.

It is impossible to say which gender is ultimately better. There may be genetic factors we haven't uncovered but as it stands it is down to the individual not the gender.

If a speed camera doesn’t flash does it mean I’ve not been caught?

No. There are many different variations of speed camera but only some flash to take a picture of you speeding, others use infra-red light. No flash does not mean no conviction. Just don’t speed is the answer.

Are you allowed to drive 10 per cent over the speed limit?

No. While many vehicles’ speedometers allow a 10 per cent error in overestimation (but not underestimation) built in, this doesn’t mean you can drive at 33mph in a 30 zone, for example.

Simply put, if a police officer catches you with a mobile radar speed gun exceeding the limit, you are liable for prosecution even at 1mph over the limit.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) suggests forces don’t prosecute until drivers exceed a margin of error of 10 per cent of the speed limit to take into account driver concentration, plus 2mph for speedometer error. But this is only a suggestion.

How many drinks can I have and still drive?

It’s a common myth that men can have ‘a pint or two’ or women a large glass of wine and still be safe to drive afterwards. Your blood-alcohol level actually depends on many factors other than the alcoholic drinks you consume – if you’ve eaten or exercised, how tired you are, or even if you’re taking any medication can all affect how your body processes the chemical. The best advice is don’t drink any alcohol if you’re driving.

Does my fully-comprehensive insurance policy cover me to drive other cars?

In many cases, with the owner’s permission, the answer is yes. But if you’re under 25, have certain previous motoring convictions or the car you’re intending to drive is particularly unusual, you might find that you aren’t insured to drive it. The best policy is to check your own car insurance policy before getting behind the wheel of another car. It should outline your level of cover and any clauses or stipulations. Failing that, check with your insurance company.

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