How drivers could rack up to £19,500 in driving fines this winter

With ice and snow sporadically popping up throughout winter, it’s hard to keep up with what rules and fines are in place. However, when drivers have to travel, whether it be short or long distances, it’s important to keep these things in mind.

Now, a finance provider has revealed that you could face a large sum of £19,500 in fines for not following the law correctly.

Hayley O’Connor at Go Car Credit had this to say about the findings, “Winter weather brings a whole new set of challenges so it’s important drivers are aware of the law to avoid hefty fines. At this time of year and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, holding on to your money has never been more important. We’ve pulled together top tips for winter driving to help drivers tackle the roads fine-free this winter.”

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Drivers keep falling foul to these common mistakes that include:

Driving with condensation, ice or snow on windscreen – £5,000

As the colder weather sets in, the familiar sight of condensation, ice and snow on our windscreen and windows appears. However, it’s very important that you clear your car of any obstructions to your windscreen before setting off.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, Regulation 30 says “All glass or other transparent material fitted to a motor vehicle shall be maintained in such condition that it does not obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road”.

Failure to clear your windscreen could land you with a £5000 fine. Take the time to adjust your fans, scrape off the ice and clear the snow before starting your journey.

Obscuring your licence plate – £1,000

As you clear your car of snow and ice in a morning don’t forget to make sure your licence plate is visible too. During the winter months, muck from the road or heavy snow can often lead to an obscured licence plate, make sure to keep this clear in order to avoid a hefty fine.

Driving with snow on your car – £5,000

It’s often asked whether you can drive with snow on your car – and whilst there isn’t a specific law that prevents you from doing so, you could be breaking the law if you drive with snow on your windshield or your roof.

As discussed, driving with snow on your windscreen is breaking the law if it obstructs your vision. If snow from your roof falls onto the road/pavement and endangers other road users and/or pedestrians, you could be held liable under the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 3 – Careless, and inconsiderate, driving.

Leaving your car to idle – £20 to £80

Dashing back inside and leaving your engine running whilst you wait for your car to defrost can be tempting, but you could be breaking (multiple) laws!

If you leave your car to idle you are breaking regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, which reinforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, outlining “you must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road”

Leaving your car idling can have a detrimental effect on the environment, polluting the air around you and breaking The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations Act 2002.

The fine for idling is only applied to cars parked on public roads rather than private driveways.

Finally, leaving your car running also opens up your car to theft so it’s important that you never leave your car unattended. Whilst there isn’t a fine it often invalidates your car insurance.

Forgetting to put headlights on – £5,000

If you are caught driving in the dark without your headlights, you could be charged with Driving Without Due Care And Attention and “allowing your standard of driving to fall below that of a prudent motorist”.

The fixed rate for penalties is a £100 fine and three points on your licence. However, the maximum penalty could result in a court visit, a £5000 fine and 9 points on your licence.

Weather worn tyres – £2500

Car tyres are another common casualty of the changing winter weather. Changes in temperature and driving conditions can cause wear and tear faster than usual. Tyres that may have fared well in the summer months may no longer be suitable for winter driving conditions and worn or damaged treads could lead to aquaplaning or accidents.

Charges of up to £2500 for driving without due care and attention can be issued if the tyres are considered unsuitable for the conditions and three penalty points for each tyre that does not meet road standards. Check your tyres regularly and ensure they meet legal requirements for all driving conditions.

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