It’s a fact of life that there’s a wealth of myths and confusing statements about driving.

Being aware of these can help you navigate the roads more confidently and safely.

Driving is a continuous learning process, and staying informed and updated is key.

Yet, the majority of drivers admit to never looking at the Highway Code after passing their test, leading to common confusion.

Drivers often find themselves uncertain about common driving topics, making it crucial to provide clarity on these issues.

Popular thinking

The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, so we can’t be doing too much wrong behind the wheel.

However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t guilty of some ignorance and following false rumours at times.

Bristol Street Motors has spotted that recent searches about two common driving myths have increased.

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.


Driving myths aren’t just simple misunderstandings.

We may think we are careful, considerate, and law-abiding drivers, but incorrect ideas and understanding of some rules can put our and others’ safety at risk.

Add to that the potential for 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.

Driving barefoot is illegal

It’s a myth.

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.

Ensure your shoes stay on your feet easily so they do not become a distraction when driving.

Also, always avoid wearing high heels, flip-flops, or heavy boots when driving.

These make it much harder to control your car.

You can use water instead of coolant

It’s a myth.

When your car is overheating, using water instead of proper coolant can be tempting.

However, water lacks anti-corrosive ingredients, which will cause rust in your engine and lead to leaks and damage.

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, you should get a summer check.

Keep some engine coolant in the boot of your car for emergencies to ensure you don’t get caught out or have to use distilled water.

You can’t eat and drive

Yes, it’s a myth.

Legally speaking, nothing is stopping you from eating and driving.

However, if 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.

If messy foods are all you have on hand, it might be best to wait until you’re parked before tucking in.

Coasting saves fuel

A persistent myth.

In old cars, there could have been some economic benefit.

However, the technology in modern cars, it’s now an old misconception that coasting saves fuel.

If anything, coasting could mean you use more fuel than keeping your car in gear.

This is because coasting still requires a small amount of fuel 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 vehicle will speed up more quickly, making steering more difficult.

This lack of control can cause crashes, particularly when you need to shift into gear when reacting to a hazard.

You can drive with a cracked windscreen

You can drive with a cracked window, but it’s not a great idea and can be illegal.

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 drive with a cracked windscreen and get into an incident, you might face more severe driving charges.

The crash could be considered your responsibility as you had impaired visibility.