What is coasting and is it legal?

What is coasting and is it legal?
Driving habits are common in everyone who gets behind the wheel. Some are good, and some are dangerous or can even damage the vehicle.

By using good driving habits and being mindful of bad ones, drivers can contribute to safer roads, lower fuel consumption, and longer-lasting vehicles.

This guide looks at what coasting is coasting, its impact on a vehicle, and if it is legal.

Bad habits for drivers

Habits are constant behaviours exhibited by drivers that can have both positive and negative impact on a vehicle and road safety.

Coasting, although it can help lower fuel consumption, it is viewed as a negative habit as it decreases the control a driver has over their vehicle.

Here are some other bad habits that drivers should avoid:

  • Aggressive driving: This includes tailgating, undertaking, cutting off other vehicles, and rapid acceleration followed by hard braking.
  • Driving while using a mobile device: Not only is this illegal, but also dangerous as a driver’s concentration should be on wheels at all times.
  • Not carrying out regular maintenance: This is crucial for all car owners, as avoiding it will lead to costly repairs and even breakdowns.
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt: Another huge safety risk, and illegal. All passengers should be buckled up before setting off.
  • Riding the brakes: This is when you fail to completely remove the pressure from the brakes. This can damage the brakes and cause overheating.
  • Incorrect gear changes: Doing this will add pressure to the gearbox – which is a costly repair.
  • Resting hands on steering wheel: Drivers who do this have less control over their vehicle and is a safety risk.
  • Not using indicators: This means that other drivers will not be aware of when you make a turn.

Although there are many other bad habits for driving, being aware of them and making an immediate change can lead to safer driving and a more enjoyable for all road users.

What is coasting?

Coasting is when a driver puts the vehicle in neutral, keeping the gear pedal down, or by taking their feet off all pedals.

Although it can increase fuel efficiency, it can lead to an unsafe driving style, where the driver has less control over speed and direction.

Those who have a habit of coasting carry it out on steep declines or in heavy traffic.

By coasting regularly, the vehicle is more likely to need repairs and regular maintenance.  

Is coasting illegal?

Although having the car in neutral or the clutch being pressed down while the car in moving are not illegal – it is not recommended for drivers to coast.

However, dangerous driving is illegal.

Coasting can reduce control over the vehicle, especially in situations where quick acceleration or engine braking might be needed.

The UK Highway Code advises against coasting. Rule 122 specifically states that coasting can reduce driver control.

While the Highway Code itself is not law, failure to comply with it can be used as evidence in court to establish liability.

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