By Ellie Brown
From motor carriages of the late 1800s, to the fully electric hi-tech vehicles we often see on our roads today, the wonderful world of driving has seen a lot of changes over the years. With driving comes plenty of handy information, interesting laws, and fun facts that can be useful to motorists around the world.
So, are you aware of how much time on average a Brit spends driving during their lifetime, or that a dirty number plate can land you a hefty fine of up to £1,000? Read on to discover a range fascinating motoring facts that are sure to surprise you.
The average person spends over £206,000 on cars in their lifetime
Many of the smaller costs of owning a car like buying air fresheners, accessories, and cleaning are less likely to be budgeted for by consumers and can therefore go unnoticed by many.
You can be fined for driving with a dirty number plate
Bad news for those who hate washing their car - since driving around with dirty number plates makes it harder to read, the highway code states“lights, indicators and number plates must be kept clean and clear”, so you may end up being stopped and fined if dirt causes your numberplate to be obscured.
Keeping on top of maintenance, especially cleaning your car in winter months when the harsh weather strikes, can be a difficult task. But as tiresome a task as it might be, making sure your car is clean, and your number plate easy to read is essential if you want to avoid being hit with a fine.
So, with that in mind, you may want to get out your bucket and sponges and start cleaning, as fines start from £100 and can go as high as £1,000.
UK motorists drive the equivalent of Nottingham to Sydney every year
The average motorist in the UK can drive up to 10,000 miles per year. A poll of 2,000 drivers discovered that the average motorist drives around 592,920 miles in their lifetime. Eight months of which are stuck in traffic and two months are spent searching for parking spaces.
All those school runs, road trips to the beach, and long trips on the motorway add up to roughly the same distance as jetting (or driving) off to Sydney for a holiday in the sun. That's a lot of fuel.
The world's first speeding ticket was given to someone driving at 8mph
Motoring laws have come a long way since the beginning of the automotive industry in the 1800s. Thanks to technology provided by the likes of digital speedometers and sat nav apps, keeping to speed limits is straightforward.
Back in 1896, the speed limit in Britain was a mere 2mph, which is even slower than the average person's walking pace.
So, when Walter Arnold raced through the streets of Paddock Wood, Kent, at four times the speed limit, he became the first person in the world to receive a speeding ticket. Walter Arnold was chased for five miles by a police constable on a bicycle before being caught, and was fined one shilling.
Splashing pedestrians can land you a pretty hefty fine
Most of us have done it at some point, whether intentionally or not, and you might have been the one receiving an unpleasant drenching at times as well. But did you know that you could land yourself a huge fine by splashing someone?
Under section three of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it's illegal to splash pedestrians, as it amounts to driving without reasonable consideration for others.
Usually, a £100 fixed penalty and 3 points will be issued, but if you're deemed to be driving in a manner that amounts to "incompetence, selfishness, impatience, and aggressiveness", then the maximum punishment of a £5,000 fine could be levelled.
Now, next time you're accelerating towards a large puddle and there are pedestrians nearby, you might want to think again.
It's illegal to pay with your phone at a drive-through
The law around using mobile phones whilst driving applies to everything, not just calls or texts, and understanding the distractions caused by smartphone driving can save you a lot of trouble in the future.
You may be used to paying with Apple Pay and Android Auto in all manner of everyday situations, but, strictly speaking, a drive-through is one place you can't. So next time you go to pay for your fast food order with your phone, you might want to think again.
The inventor of cruise control was blind
With technology in cars only growing more by the day, innovative advanced driver assistance systems, safety features, and even self-driving cars have come into play. Tech like cruise control comes as standard in many new cars, but you might be surprised to discover where the idea of cruise control came from.
Ralph Teetor, the inventor of cruise control, was not a driver at all. In fact, he was completely blind. Yet, his enhanced sense of touch enabled him to become an engineering genius, and his chauffeur's jerky accelerator foot inspired him to come up with a device that would keep a car's speed constant.
Chrysler first offered 'Speedostat' in 1958, renamed 'Cruise Control' shortly after - and it's still around today.
The engine noise from many cars is fake
Many new cars pump artificial engine noise into the cabin through speakers for extra driving fun.Why's it fake? For years, consumers wanted cars to become quieter, with a lack of intrusive engine noise being a desirable quality. Refinement is still valued, but many cars - especially hybrid and electric cars - have become so quiet that they lack a bit of excitement.
Engine noise is also useful for gear-shifting and for warning visually-impaired pedestrians of a car's rapid approach. So, manufacturers started pumping noise back in.
So there you have it, some interesting motoring facts to impress your motoring friends. And even better, you'll now be more familiar with commonly unknown road ules to reduce the risks while you're behind the wheel of your car.