Person holding a cell phone while sitting behind the wheel of their vehicle.

Are you doing illegal things while driving?

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

A lot happens behind the wheel. In order to safely reach their destination, motorists need to monitor other road users and be prepared to take action at a moment’s notice.

An important part of using the road is avoiding doing illegal things while driving. So, what’s considered illegal? We’re here to provide some examples, some of which you may not know about.

Distracted driving has become a major problem. Drivers can easily become preoccupied by talking to other passengers, helping their children, or using technology. This pulls their attention away from the task at hand and increases their chance of getting into an accident.

In 2020, more than 3,100 people died because of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Around 424,000 people across the United States were injured as a result of distracted driving in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some types of distractions are listed below.

Examples of distracted driving


In Virginia, it is illegal to hold a handheld device while driving. However, that doesn’t stop travelers from using them to perform various tasks, such as texting. Some of us have seen people swerving and – when we pull up next to them at a light – notice that they are typing out a message, even with children in the car.

Recording TikTok videos

Using social media is another task people perform while behind the wheel. TikTok has grown in popularity over the years. So has many of the trends associated with the platform. To be a part of it, some people will record TikTok videos while driving. 

Eating and drinking

It doesn’t seem like there’s enough time in the day and, sometimes, we use driving as our chance to catch up on tasks, especially when we’re running late. A lot of people will temporarily take their eyes off the road to eat or drink something.

Focusing on your appearance

Are you having a bad hair day? Is your makeup smudged? These are some concerns we may have when heading to a presentation for work or trying to look our best for someone special. So, we tend to do them on our way to our destination.

Illegal activities aren’t limited to distracted driving. There are also various tasks that are performed on the road when drivers aren’t looking at a screen, or taking care of their physical needs.

Other illegal things while driving

Speeding through school zones

We see it all the time – motorists driving quickly through school zones, despite the flashing yellow lights indicating that the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Remember, during the times listed on school zone signs, the reduced speed comes into play. 

Not clearing your windshield

We were a bit surprised to find that having a dirty windshield is against the law. But it makes sense when you think about it. Not having a clear windshield makes it more difficult to see and is, therefore, unsafe.

Hanging items from the rearview mirror

A lot of people have things – graduation tassels, for example – hanging from the rearview mirror. Like a large crack in the windshield, it’s illegal to hang objects from the mirror because it’s obstructing the driver’s vision.

Trash on the side of the road.

Throwing items out the window

If you’re paying attention, you may see litter on the side of the road. Throwing items – whether it’s cigarette butts, fast food containers or dirty diapers – out the car window is another illegal thing that people do, sometimes without even thinking about it.

Driving without a front bumper

There are many components your vehicle needs for you to drive it legally. You’re supposed to have a front and rear bumper that is rated for a certain crash and mile per hour. Putting up a 4-by-4 board may not be legal in your state.

There are some ways you can drive more safely (and legally). 

Steps you can take

We’ve explained a lot of things that are illegal to do while driving. But is there anything that can be done to better protect yourself and your passengers? Here are a few things you can do to make your travels less distracting and more safe:

  • Create rules for yourself and your kids to follow when you’re behind the wheel
  • Get an app that lets people who are calling you know that you’re driving
  • Make sure that you can see clearly while driving and your vehicle is following Virginia safety inspection standards

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.