UK Parents Warned Of Common Driving Mistakes (That Can Cost Hundreds In Fines)

If you're set to drive somewhere with the kids soon, read this first.
Jackyenjoyphotography via Getty Images

With the summer holidays in full swing, chances are a day trip or two is on the horizon for you and the kids.

But if you’re planning on getting behind the wheel, it’s important to be aware of some of the most common mistakes parents make when driving with little ones in the car – which could not only prove dangerous, but could also cost you in fines.

Experts from said one of the biggest mistakes parents make is not restraining children properly in the car.

According to the Highway Code, children must use a car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, and babies and toddlers under 15 months old must be placed in a rear-facing car seat.

Failing to comply with these rules can result in a fine of up to £500 and points on your licence.

Having loose items – such as bottles, heavy toys and phones – on seats can also prove dangerous, as they could hit passengers in the event of a collision.

If a vehicle is travelling at 55 miles per hour at the time of a collision, for example, a 20-pound object inside the car would strike with 1,000 pounds of force.

So, beverages should be placed in drink holders, phones should be securely placed in a mount and other loose items should be stored in the boot or sealed compartments and never left on the parcel shelf.

Here’s what else you should be aware of.

Car seat not installed securely

Over half (56%) of child car seats are incorrectly fitted, according to the Road Safety Authority.

Parents should carry out regular checks to make sure the car seat is securely fitted, say experts at Quotezone.

If the car seat is slightly loose then it’s an indicator that either the seat isn’t compatible with the car or it’s not properly installed.

Parents should closely follow the manufacturer’s manual on installation or get the car seat fitted professionally the first time. Some retailers like Halfords offer car seat fitting demos.

It’s also recommended to hoover and refit a car seat regularly to make sure it isn’t loose and food debris isn’t hindering the buckles.

Wearing bulky clothes in the car seat

Bulky clothing such as coats and thick jumpers or cardigans shouldn’t be worn in a car seat because they leave extra space under the harness, meaning that during a collision your child could slip through the straps.

To keep children warm, parents should dress them in thin layers instead and use a blanket or a car seat cover over the harness.

Not turning on child lock

Child lock should always be engaged when driving with children. Kids – as we know – can be curious or open the car door accidentally while moving which can cause an accident or be seen by the police as careless driving. The latter can result in a hefty fine and points on your licence.

Child lock also comes in handy in situations where children may exit the car without realising the potential dangers around them, such as when the vehicle is parked in busy areas or near traffic.


Parents can easily get distracted by their children’s behaviour in the car, whether it’s attending to their needs or trying to calm them down.

However, it’s important to stay focused on the road in order to operate the vehicle safely. In such cases, it’s better to pull over and make a stop to take care of the child’s needs before hitting the road again.

Driving when tired

Exhausted parents should never sit behind the wheel, as fatigue can negatively affect their reaction time and ability to concentrate and navigate the road safely.

If you feel drowsy while on the road, it’s best to find a safe place to pull over and take a break before continuing the journey.