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Find out the truth behind these 7 motorway myths that could stop you getting fined

BRITS drive millions of miles a year on motorways – but many probably don’t know all the rules. And with laws recently being updated to take into account variable speed limits and smart…

BRITS drive millions of miles a year on motorways - but many probably don't know all the rules.

And with laws recently being updated to take into account variable speed limits and smart motorways it's time you brushed up.

PA:Press Association

Various motorway myths exist - but which are fact and which are fiction?

We've rounded up seven motoring myths from whether you can be fined for going over 70mph to when you can stop on the hard shoulder.

Plus, there are some quirky laws that you had probably never considered that could land you with a fine.

Can anyone drive in the outside lane and can those Highways England traffic officer 4x4s catch you for speeding?

Read on to find out which myths are fact or fiction.

Getty - Contributor

Do you have to give way to joining traffic?

Variable speed limit cameras are only on when a speed limit is shown - FALSE

We've all seen the signs on smart motorway overhead gantries flick from 40mph to 50mph to the national speed limit.

But are the cameras really active when 70mph is being enforced? The answer is yes, they're still switched on according to Highways England and several police forces.

Everyone knows you can be snapped for breaking a variable limit and eager cops can even punish you for going over 70mph on a clear road.

In fact, officers in Derbyshire admitted they would start issuing more fines for this on the M1 this year.

You'll be fined for going over 70mph - NOT ALWAYS

If you're snapped by a camera as above at over 70mph you could be fined but what about cops on patrol?

Chances are officers will employ the 10 per cent plus 2mph rule in most cases unless you're driving erratically.

Police are unlikely to act below 79mph but if they do you can't really complain as the letter of the law is 70mph.

And one top cop even caused uproar by suggesting speeding drivers should be fined at just 1mph over the limit.

Highways England

Variable speed limits are more common than ever - but when are cameras switched on

You shouldn't take pets out of the car if you breakdown - TRUE

If you break down on the hard shoulder the advice is to get yourself and any passengers out of the car and onto the side of the road behind the barrier.

But if you've got a pet on-board they should stay put.

While taking them out will keep them safe from your car being hit on the road, it's actually more dangerous as they could panic and dash across the road causing a massive accident.

You can't stop on the hard shoulder if you need the toilet - TRUE

The hard shoulder is a place for emergencies only - and stopping for the loo or to make a call is illegal. That includes in one of the new emergency refuge areas on smart motorways, too.

If cops spot you, it carries a £100 fine and three penalty points making it a pretty expensive toilet break.

Even if a passenger is car sick or you need to read a map you have to keep going and pull off the motorway into services or at a junction.

Hard shoulders are dangerous places with around 800 people killed or injured every year from stopping.

Highways England

These new emergency refuge areas replace hard shoulders in some places - but can you stop for the toilet?

Anyone can drive in the outside lane - FALSE

We all know that we should be in the left hand lane where possible, middle lane-hogging carries a fine and the other lanes are for overtaking.

But is everyone free to roam in the outside lane?

THE CAMERA NEVER LIES Find out the truth behind these 12 speed camera myths that could stop you getting fined

The simple answer is no. On a three-lane motorway, it's illegal for a heavy goods vehicle (weighting over 7.5 tonnes) to venture out that far.

That includes trailers and caravans and if you're caught you'll face a £100 fine and three points on your licence.

Highways England traffic officers can stop you for speeding - FALSE

Yes, Highways England 4x4s look very similar to a police car from a distance.

Cue a stream of cars sitting at 68mph because they're scared to overtake in case they get chased.

But these traffic officers don't have any police powers though and can't pull you over for speeding or breaking other laws.

They can stop traffic in an emergency and will often be first on the scene of incidents.

You have to give way to joining traffic on a slip road - FALSE

It's common courtesy to move into the middle lane or slow down if you see a car haring down the slip road to join the motorway.

But it's actually up to those joining to give right of way to those already on the motorway.

That's not to say you shouldn't give way as forcing someone to slow down on the slip road can cause traffic behind to back up and might result in a crash.

Use some teamwork out there.

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