Four common mistakes motorists make during winter – risking up to a £10,000 fine
AS temperatures are set to drop in the UK this week – motorists are being warned the weather can wreak havoc with their cars.
When the weather forecast is bleak, it’s vital you keep yourself and others safe on the roads when driving – and avoid simple mistakes that could cause an accident or get you fined.
Here are four common mistakes motorists make during the winter months which could risk a hefty fine or even points on your licence.
Dirty registration plate
You might know you shouldn’t drive with snow or ice on your car windscreen, but did you know you have to clear your registration plate too?
If your car registration plate is covered and others can’t read it, it could land you a £1,000 fine.
This is because it has to be clear so the plate can register with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
A clear number plate also lets the police know when and where the motor is registered as well as if you have road tax, are insured and have a valid MOT.
Always check your car registration plate before heading off so it’s free from any snow, ice or dirt.
A standard ice scraper should be all you need to keep it clear.
Deflated tyres could be dangerous to drive in regardless of what the weather is doing.
A common motoring myth is that flat tyres give you better traction in the snow – but this isn’t true.
A properly inflated tyre will have more grip on the road, preventing skidding and letting you brake in good time.
During the colder months, tyres can lose pressure much more quickly.
You can find the correct pressure your tyres should be inflated to in your manual or the driver’s side door.
Don’t forget to check the tread too – it needs to be a minimum of 1.6mm deep across three-quarters of the tyre’s width, and experts recommend 3mm to be on the safe side.
Having bald tyres could get you a fine of £2,500 per tyre – that’s £10,000 if all four tyres don’t meet the rules.
The RAC recommends checking your tyres at least once a week during the winter.
You might think wearing snow boots is a good idea to keep your feet warm in poor weather, but not if you’re getting behind the wheel.
While wellie boots and other winter footwear isn’t technically illegal while driving, it could still get you in trouble.
Wearing inappropriate footwear could land you with a £100 fine and three points on your licence if you get in an accident and that’s deemed to be the reason.
Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that “clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in a correct manner”.
So if you plan to plan to wear snow boots, always bring a change of appropriate footwear to drive in.
Driving through puddles
While it might seem like harmless fun to drive through a puddle and splash a pedestrian, it could land you in trouble.
You can be hit with a public order offence and risk paying £100 or up to £5,000 if it gets taken to court by the struck pedestrian.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “Anyone unfortunate enough to have suffered a drenching by an inconsiderate motorist splashing them when driving through a puddle would probably welcome a sizeable financial penalty for the driver.
“Since 2013, careless driving can be dealt with by a Fixed Penalty Notice with a £100 fine and three penalty points.”
In other news, drivers have been warned over their tyre pressures this winter or risk a £2,500 fine
We also look at how drivers can be fined £70 for “bad turns” under new rules and how drivers can risk a fine for wearing the wrong shoes during winter
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