With Ofcom data revealing that 23.3 million people in the UK have accounts and are active on TikTok, video trends on the popular app circulate fast and reach users' eyes in seconds. Some trends are fun, but ones related to cars and driving could get you in serious trouble.
cinch, the faff-free way to buy a car online, has used TikTok hashtag data to find popular trends on the platform that could land you in hot water. Keeping yourself in the know about what could breach road laws can help you avoid it.
#decoratemycar - 84.3 million views
Who doesn’t love a bit of personalisation to make our BMW cars more 'me’? It makes sense that people want to inject a bit of individuality into their vehicles, and the trend #decoratemycar has amassed around 85 million views in the UK alone as of September 2023.
This trend sees videos of motorists installing steering wheel and handbrake covers, the classic fuzzy dice hanging from rearview mirrors, and even bedazzling their dashboards and steering wheel centres with gemstones.
Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, appreciates motorists’ desire to be individuals but warns of the dangers of customising your car’s interior: “While we certainly can’t deny they add a unique look to your interior, these could not only land you a fine but could be dangerous to your driving ability. Covers for your steering wheel and handbrake can impact your grip, which is especially dangerous as you must always be in control of your vehicle.
“Similarly, large rearview mirror accessories could obstruct your vision of the road through your windscreen. The maximum penalty for both breaches is three points on your licence, and you could be fined upwards of £1,000.”
#passdrivingtest - 16.7 million views
One accessory that’s a must for many motorists is a phone mount for your car. Intended for use while navigating, they’ve become makeshift tripods for filming while driving. Driving instructors have begun using these to film lessons while on the road to outline how best to pass your driving test.
TikTok’s leading demographic, as per the Ofcom data, is 16- to 24-year-olds, which is the prime age to start looking for hashtags like #passdrivingtest to prepare for their tests. This helped drive that hashtag beyond 17 million collective views.
However, filming your lessons or your driving for practice could land you in trouble. The UK government website states that using your phone or any other portable electronic device while driving is illegal, including being stopped at traffic lights or supervising a learner driver.
If you’re caught filming while driving, you could be fined £200 and get six penalty points on your licence. Depending on the severity, you could even be taken to court, where you risk a ban from driving or a £1,000 fine.
#carkaroake – 526 million views
Look, we can all admit that when we’re on the open road and the road trip playlist is on, it’s a total free-for-all of octaves when we’re singing along to our favourite songs.
And there’s no better way to immortalise the comedy and embarrassment than filming it for the #carkaraoke hashtag on TikTok, which has 526 million views across all videos on the platform.
While we imagine ourselves in the car with James Corden doing Carpool Karaoke, too much exuberance in your singalong could result in distraction from the road ahead and not giving your full attention to your speed and driving. This could fall into a similar category of having insufficient control of your vehicle as filming your drive and could see you receive three points on your licence and a fine of as much as £1,000.