A study by Scrap Car Comparison reveals huge numbers of drivers are breaking UK road laws. However, many  have no awareness of their illegal actions.  

With the common acceptance of driving as a common everyday activity for all, understanding the rules of the road can easily slip by the wayside.

Lost in time

While speeding, or parking on double-yellow lines are obvious rules, there are many that seem obscure and perhaps belonging to a different age. 

This study highlights the less familiar, and millions of drivers admit to breaking them on a regular basis. 

Surveying over 1,500 drivers, the study asked each driver how often, if ever, they have committed 25 of these less obvious UK road laws.

It found that flashing your headlights to give way to another driver is the most commonly broken rule. A staggering 9 out of 10 motorists (88%) admit to breaking the seemingly innocuous law. Of these, 42% say they do so ‘frequently’, or ‘always’. 

Though it can be seen by many as a friendly gesture, the Highway Code states that drivers must only flash their headlights to let other road users know they are there, and not to convey any other message.

Breaking the rule, even done courteously, can result in a fine of up to £1,000. 


Other laws drivers might be breaking without even knowing include driving while playing loud music,. This can be classed as a driving distraction and result in a £100 on-the-spot fine.

Warning other road users of a speed trap, which is classed as obstructing a constable in the execution of their duty, and could again run up a £1,000 fine. 


Most Commonly Broken ‘Unknown’ UK Road Laws

Rank  Driving offence  % of drivers that admit to driving offence 



Flashing headlights to give way to another driver 



2  Driving while playing loud music  73% 
3  Swearing/making a rude gesture at another driver  69% 
4  Driving with snow on the roof  69% 
5  Using a vehicle’s horn in an aggressive manner 


6  Warning other road users about a speed trap/camera  58% 
7  Using a mobile phone while the ignition is turned on  52% 
8  Driving with frosted windows  52% 
9  Parked facing against the direction of traffic at night  51% 
10  Leaving the vehicle’s engine running while stationary (also known as idling)  50% 


Is it me?

Interestingly, the study also looked at which drivers are most at fault when it comes to these offences, and whether the owners of certain cars are more likely to break the law than others. 

Carrying a maximum penalty of £5,000, deliberately splashing a pedestrian when driving in wet weather is rightfully a criminal offence. This is more commonly committed by male drivers, with almost half of male motorists in the UK (46%) admitting to having done so while driving, versus a smaller 35% of women. 

Meanwhile, Fiat owners were found out to be the biggest ‘lane hoggers’ in the country. ore than three quarters (77%)admit to hogging the middle lane on the motorway, instead of moving over to the left as per the Highway Code.

Jaguar drivers follow close behind, with 74% admitting to the motorway driving sin, which can carry a fine of £100 and three points on your licence. 

Up to speed

David Kottaun, Operations Manager at Scrap Car Comparison believes all drivers need to regularly read their Highway Code.

“It always pays to have good knowledge of the rules of the road,” states Kottaun. This is especially so when tweaks, changes and updates are often taking place. These are done to “better reflect modern driving conditions and protect everyone that is using the roads”. 

“While certain rules may seem unnecessary or like they won’t ever be policed, it’s never worth testing that theory, as not only could you be putting yourself and other drivers in danger, but you could also run out of luck and end up with an easily avoided penalty. 

You can read more motoring news by ScrapComparison here.