Most traffic laws are fairly well defined, with little room for manoeuvre (no pun intended).  Break the speed limit and you’re in bother, run a red light and it’s points on your licence, drive under the influence of alcohol and you could end up in jail – all fairly straightforward, and easy to understand.

Meanwhile, there’s the somewhat open-to-interpretation set of rules regarding “driving without due care and attention”. An offence that leads to many thousands of motorists being handed penalty points and fines on an annual basis, despite being somewhat difficult to define.

If you have ever taken the time to at least scan through the Highway Code, you may have found yourself understandably perplexed. It really does make for a hugely complex and convoluted read – particularly given how much of what’s in there is more of a ‘guideline’ than a hard and fast law.

Consequently, many (if not most) motorists would probably admit to having a very vague understanding of what driving without due care and attention really means.  Or at least, are probably unaware of some of the bad habits that qualify for penalisation under this particular rule. 

Driving Without Due Care and Attention: Defined 

From a legal perspective, the definition of driving without due care and attention is “allowing the standard of driving to fall beyond that of a competent and careful driver”.  All well and good, but equally ambiguous, and still very much open to interpretation.

Truth is, the list of potential pitfalls that could see you being prosecuted under this whole banner of offence is huge.  On the plus side, most of them are nothing but pure common sense, and the kinds of things no responsible driver would do, anyway. 

Just to give you some idea of what you definitely shouldn’t be doing behind the wheel, these are all the kinds of things that could see you busted for driving without due care and attention:

  • Failing to use indicators when turning her or changing lanes 
  • Adjusting your car’s radio or satnav while the vehicle is in motion
  • Reading maps or generally playing with a vehicle’s computer system
  • Not giving way at a junction where required to do so
  • Driving under the influence of prescription medications
  • Ignoring important road signs in general
  • Eating and drinking while your vehicle is in motion
  • Driving in the wrong lane for no good reason
  • Any evidence of clearly been distracted by a passengers
  • Hogging the middle-lane on the motorway when the left lane is free
  • Driving when tired or in any way unwell
  • Undertaking (i.e. overtaking a vehicle on the left) 
  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you
  • Swerving, aggressive acceleration, or any kind of erratic driving
  • Not applying the brakes until the last minute and screeching to a halt

In a nutshell, anything that puts you or anyone else in harm’s way qualifies as driving without due care and attention. The full list of potential offence’s is practically endless, but each and every entry is easy to avoid, simply by driving responsibly.

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