In the UK, there are a lot of things you can't do while driving, with texting, drinking and sleeping at the wheel all considered crimes, due to them being distractions. Vaping at the wheel however is technically not illegal, but there are still rules about it, and you can face a fine for not following these rules.
As seen in this article by the Express, police have warned motorists of the risks of vaping when driving and announced the severe penalties that it could bring when caught. This is due to vaping being a possible distraction to the road, and large vapour clouds may obstruct the driver's view and may even cause temporary blindness.
The Express does state vaping while driving is not illegal, since not all vaping causes these large clouds. It does however explain that “motorists could face prosecution for driving without due care and attention, as it has been deemed to be distracting.”.
A maximum fine of up to £5000 to allow safe passage of both passengers and other drivers on the road, including 9 points on your license or a driving ban.
The article contains interviews from Sergeant Carl Knapp of the Sussex Road Policing Unit explaining that the vapour caused by vapes are a distraction and it only takes a moment to get distracted and then potentially crash. He advises "If you are going to vape I advise that you open your windows and blow the vapour directly out, just ensure that you are in full control of your vehicle before doing so."
What Are the Laws of Vaping While Driving?
There is no law against vaping while driving at time of writing. Vaping while driving is fine so long as it does not distract the driver.
The department of transport have said: "We believe that drivers should always follow the rules set out by the highway code and must always exercise proper control of their vehicle and avoid any distractions, including vaping."
Vaping and Driving Tips
While vaping while driving is legal, there are some common sense things you should do if you plan to vape in the car to avoid a fine or an accident.
Avoid Foggy Driving
This was the main reason for this fine. If you blow vapour directly in front of you, you can temporarily impair your vision, so you won't be able to see out the window. There are some simple ways to deal with this:
- Aiming Vapour - If you exhale out the side of your mouth or out of your nose, the vapour is directed away from your field of vision.
- Open a Window - Opening a window when vaping in the car is a must, as it lets the vapour out and stops it building up inside. If you can vape out the window, that will also stop the buildup in your car.
- Use PG Liquids - The VG in e-liquids is the one responsible for the vapour, so having a higher PG ratio can stop these big clouds from occurring.
- Have a big vape? - Bigger vape kits are notoriously known for passing big clouds of smoke, which are most definitely in question here when it comes to driving safety. Tone down your clouds with a vape pod or vape pen which are more discreet, produce less vapor and won't get you blinded whilst driving.
If you regularly vape while driving, you may notice a buildup of greasy film on the window. This happens with all e-liquid but is most prominent with high VG e-liquids. This film is dangerous as it can lead to a fogging effect, especially on cold days. Also, the film makes the sun appear brighter, which can dazzle the driver.
The best way to solve this issue is by cleaning the windscreen regularly. This can be done in a number of ways, but using white vinegar is most effective for cleaning glass and is actually more effective than regular glass cleaning sprays.
- Keep Your Kit Handy - One other way that vaping can distract drivers is when they're trying to find their kit. The best thing to do is keep your kit close to you so you don't have to spend time trying to work out where you put it.
- Keep the Tank Pre-Filled - Another obvious one, make sure your kit has e-liquid in before you go out to drive. You don't want to be filling your tank up on the middle of the M6.
- Keep Water Nearby - Vaping will dehydrate you and can cause you a dry mouth and throat. Make sure to keep a bottle of water nearby to prevent a bad coughing fit when driving.
- Watch Your Nicotine Intake - Consuming a little too much nicotine and feeling mild dizziness is not unusual, however, while it's fine when you're at home, it can be dangerous when at the wheel. Try to stick to juices with a low nicotine strength. If you're feeling dizzy, be sure to pull over until you feel better.
Now you should know the precautions you need to take when vaping while driving. Be sure to stay safe, and happy vaping!