Millions of British motorists are risking a heavy fine and points on their licence by stopping to go to the toilet at the roadside.
The hard shoulder on a motorway is there as a last resort in case of emergencies but as many as 2.5m drivers have admitted to using it as an impromptu loo.
Stopping on the hard shoulder of a motorway or dual carriageway is, in fact, illegal unless it’s an emergency, a breakdown or you’re told to do so by police. And being caught short doesn’t count as an emergency.
Breaking the rule carries a standard fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence but depending on the consequences of your actions it can be even more costly.
If by stopping on a hard shoulder you cause an accident you could be charged with careless driving, hit with a £5,000 fine, up to nine penalty points and even a lengthy driving ban.
100 deaths a year
Highways England figures show that around 100 people are killed on motorway hard shoulders each year, highlighting the danger of using them for non-emergency purposes.
Yet, a recent study by Select Car Leasing found that nine per cent of men and four per cent women said they’d been so desperate for the toilet that they had stopped on a motorway hard shoulder to urinate.
James O’Malley, company director of Select Car Leasing, said: “Motorway hard shoulders are not a safe place to be, with countless accidents occurring there each year, many of them proving fatal.
“By pulling onto the hard shoulder when it’s not an emergency, for something like going to the toilet, you’re putting yourself and other road users in grave danger.
“The regulations are in place to try and limit the risk and you ignore them at your peril.
“No matter how desperate you are, or how loudly the kids are screaming about needing a wee, stay on the motorway and aim for the nearest services instead.”
If police catch you stopped on the hard shoulder in a non-emergency situation you will be fined at least £100 (Photo: Shutterstock)
Mr O’Malley added: “The number of public urinals has been cut massively over the past decade but it’s not hard to find a loo on the motorway as there’s no shortage of services.
“And if you’re stuck in a traffic jam while desperate for the loo,you also need to be mindful about blocking the hard shoulder, as you might end up impeding the emergency services.”