You must be aged at least 18 and hold a valid driving licence which you must have with you whenever you are driving.

You must wear glasses if you need them to meet the driving test standard - to read at a distance of 23m in good daylight a vehicle number plate. Do not drive with uncorrected defective vision. If driving in bright light is uncomfortable, use good quality sunglasses - but not at night or in conditions of poor visibility.

You should not drive if you suffer from any disability or illness that may make it difficult for you to drive safely. Your health affects your driving - even a cold can put you below par.

Do not drive if you are tired, unwell or emotionally upset - if you must drive then keep your speed down and give yourself more time to react.

Drinking and driving is a criminal offence

You must not drive when under the influence of alcohol. The police have the power to demand a screening breath test from any driver who is involved in a traffic accident, or has committed a moving traffic offence, or is suspected of drink-driving.

Additional breath, blood or urine tests are mandatory if the screening result indicates a level above the prescribed limit.

It is also an offence if you, without reasonable excuse, refuse or fail to provide specimens of breath, blood or urine for analysis.

Prescribed limit

The prescribed limit is set at 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath, or 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, or 67mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine. Any driver found exceeding the prescribed limit might face prosecution under the law. It is also an offence if you, without reasonable excuse, refuse or fail to provide specimens of breath, blood or urine for analysis.

Effects of alcohol

When alcohol is consumed it enters the bloodstream and it acts as a depressant, impairing vision, co-ordination and muscular activity. Its effect is quick, although it can take a long time to wear off.

You may show these effects after drinking only a small amount of alcohol ( particularly if you have taken certain medicines or drugs ) or you may show little or no change in your appearance or behaviour after drinking. But that does not mean that your driving ability will be the same as before drinking.

While alcohol may make you feel more confident, it will, in fact, leave you less able to cope with unexpected events and far more likely to make wrong decisions in emergencies.

Drinking and driving don't mix and can be avoided

As an alternative, you can use the public transport, or taxi, or arrange for a non-drinker to do the driving or stay overnight with friends. Never drive after drinking alcohol.

Drugs and medicines

You must not drive when under the influence of drugs.

Always check with your doctor whether a medicine you may be taking will affect your ability to drive.

Smoking

Smoking presents difficulties when you are driving. Lighting up, smoke, ash and so on all involve risks, even if you feel that smoking helps you concentrate. If you, or your passengers, really must smoke there will be risks.

Passengers

Front seat passengers should maintain a gap of not less than one quarter of a metre between their body and the dashboard. This is particularly important in case of accident. If your body is too close to the dashboard, you might be injured by hitting the dashboard first before the seat belt could hold you back.

Passengers must be seated on properly provided and secured seats. You must not carry more passengers than the seating capacity indicated on your vehicle licence. ( A child under the age of 3 years need not be counted. Three children aged 3 or above and under 1.3 metres tall can be counted as two passengers.)