Police are urging drivers to exercise caution when vaping while driving – or risk facing a ban.
With many people making the leap from smoking to vaping for health reasons, it could actually lead to terminal health problems for your driving licence. While vaping at the wheel is not illegal, you could be pulled over by police if they believe your use of a vaping device is potentially dangerous and distracting – and if convicted of driving without due care and attention, you can expect a heart-stopping three-to-nine points on your licence or a sudden and violent coughing fit when handed a fine of up to £2,500.
The problem isn’t with the vaping device itself, say police, but with the resulting vapour as users exhale after taking a long drag; the resulting vapour cloud can temporarily obscure the driver’s vision of the road ahead, which like sun glare, can ‘blind’ the driver for a moment, increasing the chances of a crash.
“The smoke caused by vapes are a distraction and the consequences of them can be dire; all it takes is a moment to become distracted and potentially cause a crash and even worse, a fatality,” says Sussex Road Policing Unit’s Sergeant Carl Knapp. “I strongly advise people to pay 100 per cent attention to the roads when driving as anything that takes that attention away has the potential for severe consequences”.
To ensure you remain legal while vaping in your car, the sergeant advises that you open your windows and blow the vapour directly out to ensure your vision remains unimpaired. Road safety campaigners also agree with the police’s concerns; road safety charity Brake states that “vaping while driving increases your risk of crashing, causing visual disruption and physical and mental distraction. Attempting any type of activity that takes your eyes off the road increases your chances of causing a crash, and killing or seriously injuring someone.”
And with three million people now using e-cigarettes – and many of them qualified drivers – the police and Brake have a valid point, so be sure to vape safely when on the move by opening that window.
“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.”
– Department for Transport