Debunking traffic myths

WE ALL know you’re not allowed to drive a motor vehicle while drunk.

But did you know the same rule applies for riding a horse?

Do you know when you are allowed to drive without a seatbelt?

Or that Coca Cola can give you a reading, albeit tiny, during a random breath test?

Mandurah Mail reporter Kate Hedley spent time with local traffic officers this week in a bid to debunk common myths about driving.

What she learnt surprised her, and may surprise you, too.

MYTH 1

As long as you are driving a moving vehicle you must wear a seatbelt.

This one appears to be common sense, but if you are the driver of a reversing vehicle you may remain seatbelt-free until you are about to move forward.

There are exemptions to the seatbelt rule, but for most of us, if you’re on the road, you need a seatbelt on.

MYTH 2

You are not allowed to drive with bare feet.

You are not only allowed to drive with bare feet, sometimes it is preferable.

High heels can get stuck in car mats and can be hazardous.

This also applies to high heels in just about every other instance.

MYTH 3

It is illegal to eat and drink while driving.

Of course you cannot drink alcohol while driving, but you can eat and drink.

You can be booked with careless driving if eating and/or drinking interferes with your road skills.

Hold the three-course meal for the dinner table.

MYTH 4

I won’t get a ticket for going just a couple of kilometres over the limit.

Short answer – you can, and you will.

Any driver going above the speed limit by any amount can be issued a speeding infringement.

It doesn’t matter if you’re only speeding slightly.

Rules are rules, people.

MYTH 5

I can sit in the right hand lane if I want to.

No, you cannot!

On any carriageway with two or more lanes and a speed limit of 90km/h or more drivers must keep left unless overtaking or turning right.

It’s safe practice to keep left on any road, in any case.

It also makes for much less agitation from other drivers.

MYTH 6

Perhaps if I flirt with the officer he won’t give me a ticket.

Police have heard it all before.

There is nothing except a legitimate medical emergency which will get you off a speeding ticket.

Officers are immune to your charms.

And if you use the ‘rushing to hospital in labour’ excuse, you’d better make sure you have a baby very, very soon.

MYTH 7

Police officers have to stick to the speed limit, too.

All emergency services are allowed to exceed the speed limit to get to critical incidents as soon as possible.

Police are not allowed to speed for the fun of it, but if you crash your car and find yourself dangling over the edge of a cliff, wouldn’t you want them there ASAP?

MYTH 8

There is nothing wrong with my fluffy dice.

Apart from reasons of taste, it is not okay to have anything dangling from your rear-view mirror.

You need to have clear, uninterrupted vision for driving at all times.

This means those crystals, air fresheners and pretty shiny things need to find a new home.

The fluffy dice definitely need to go.

MYTH 9

I can ride my horse while I’m drunk.

This is an old offence that is still enforceable today.

You cannot leave the pub with a skinful, saddle up and ride home.

It’s drink riding.

And yes, you can be charged for it.

MYTH 10

Fizzy drinks can interfere with blood alcohol readings.

It is true a breathalyser is able to record a very, very low reading from trace amounts of Coke.

But no one will ever blow over for drinking too much of the fizzy stuff.

Similarly, no amount of lemonade will bring your reading down if you are over the limit.

People have even registered small readings after using mouthwash.

At least they had nice breath.

With thanks to Peel traffic sergeant Terry Shelton and constable Keith Abbott.

Seatbelts on? Not while reversing.

Seatbelts on? Not while reversing.

Bare feet? Good to go.

Bare feet? Good to go.

Watch that coffee while driving...

Watch that coffee while driving...

Even a couple of kilometres over the limit can get you a ticket.

Even a couple of kilometres over the limit can get you a ticket.

Keep left. Unless you want to see something like this.

Keep left. Unless you want to see something like this.

Flirting won't help you escape that fine.

Flirting won't help you escape that fine.

There are times when police are allowed to speed.

There are times when police are allowed to speed.

Say no to fluffy dice!

Say no to fluffy dice!

Drunk riding is not on.

Drunk riding is not on.

Fizzy drinks will NOT put you over the limit.

Fizzy drinks will NOT put you over the limit.