Winter driving

Solicitor, Adrian Dodd, provides some tips on winter driving   

With the worst weather of the year already upon us, it is worth being aware of some of the relevant driving rules and taking simple steps to make sure that you don’t fall foul of them.

For example:

  • You can be fined £1,000 if your car’s headlights are covered in dirt or snow.  
  • It is also, perhaps unsurprisingly, illegal to drive your car when your vision through the windscreen is impaired and for the avoidance of doubt, this includes starting your journey cautiously whilst peering through the small slowly-widening clear spot created by the hot air blower.   
  • Waiting until the car has warmed up and the windows are cleared can also land you with a problem.  If you run the engine of your car and leave it un-attended for a few minutes, and someone takes the opportunity to steal it, you will not be insured for the theft (leaving your car unlocked and unattended at any time will invalidate your insurance).
  • The selection of footwear for driving is also important.  Most of us are aware of the summer restriction not to drive in bare feet or in flip-flops. Flip-flops for example could slip off, become wedged under pedals or prevent you from pressing the pedals with enough force to brake adequately, which could cause you to drive erratically or even lead to a collision.  However, when driving in the winter months, wearing heavy boots can also put you foul of the law; especially if those boots are too heavy, restricting your foot movement, or are wide enough to risk two pedals being depressed at the same time.  In fact, you are breaking the Highway Code if any of your clothing acts to restrict your ability to adequately control your vehicle. Should you be involved in an accident and prosecuted, it could also be an aggravating factor against you in court and lead to a slightly higher fine or longer driving ban.
  • Finally, once you are on your way, it is best not to play the game of seeing how close you can get your petrol tank to empty before you stop to fill up with fuel! Running out of fuel can land you with a £5,000 fine – if, for example, you were to cause an obstruction or accident by running out of fuel and stopping on the carriage way of the road.  This is becoming especially important with the introduction of ‘Smart Motorways’.

On these dark mornings and evenings of winter, be safe and sensible and enjoy your driving! 

Should you require advice on any motoring offence, please contact Adrian on 02392 820 747

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