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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

Rules for drivers and motorcyclists

Vehicle conditionFitness to driveAlcohol and drugsBefore setting off

Vehicle condition


Vehicle condition. You MUST ensure your vehicle and trailer comply with the full requirements of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations and Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations.
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Fitness to drive


Make sure that you are fit to drive. You MUST report to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) any health condition likely to affect your driving.
Law RTA 1988 sect 94


Driving when you are tired greatly increases your risk of collision. To minimise this risk
• make sure you are fit to drive. Do not begin a journey if you are tired. Get a good nights sleep before embarking on a long journey

• avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6 am, when natural alertness is at a minimum

• plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended

• if you feel at all sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway

• the most effective ways to counter sleepiness are to drink, for example, two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (at least 15 minutes)


Vision. You MUST be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres (or 20.5 metres where the old style number plate is used). If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, you MUST wear them at all times while driving. The police have the power to require a driver to undertake an eyesight test.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 96 & MV(DL)R reg 40 & sch 8


Slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by bright sunlight.


At night or in poor visibility, do not use tinted glasses, lenses or visors if they restrict your vision.
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Alcohol and drugs


Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood. Alcohol will
• give a false sense of confidence

• reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions

• affect judgement of speed, distance and risk

• reduce your driving ability, even if youre below the legal limit

• take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.
Law RTA 1988 sects 4, 5 & 11(2)


You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. Check the instructions or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Using illegal drugs is highly dangerous. Never take them if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and may result in fatal or serious road crashes.
Law RTA 1988 sect 4
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Before setting off


Before setting off. You should ensure that
• you have planned your route and allowed sufficient time

• clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner

• you know where all the controls are and how to use them before you need them. Not all vehicles are the same; do not wait until it is too late to find
• out

• your mirrors and seat are adjusted correctly to ensure comfort, full control and maximum vision

• head restraints are properly adjusted to reduce the risk of neck and spine injuries in the event of a collision

• you have sufficient fuel before commencing your journey, especially if it includes motorway driving. It can be dangerous to lose power when driving in traffic

• ensure your vehicle is legal and roadworthy

• switch off your mobile phone

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