Highway Code: Drivers can be fined £1,000 if their car is too dirty


Long car journeys can be a daunting prospect and ensuring your vehicle is up to specification can be a real hassle, but the consequences of missing something could result in thousands of pounds in fines. Experts at Vanarama have put together some tips on what drivers need to watch out for to avoid receiving penalties (including one for a dirty car) that add up to £7,600 in total.

Some of these things are quite simple and common sense, however, some might catch you by surprise and also result in a much higher fine amount than you think. There are various laws that govern the conduct and condition of a vehicle that must be obeyed and not all of them apply directly to specific scenarios.

Having your car in good overall condition is the best way to guarantee you won’t get into trouble, but there are specific things to look out for that could get you in trouble with the traffic police. Here are some things to watch out for:

READ MORE: Rules of the road: The little-known driving offense that could net you a £5,000 fine

There are a bunch of problems that could cost unsuspecting drivers thousands

Tires with incorrect tread depth – fine of up to £2,500 per tire

Although you don’t need to take a spare tire on the road with you, there are rules to follow if you wish. You must ensure that the tire pressure is correct for the ride and that the tread depth meets the minimum requirement of 1.6mm on the center ¾ of the tire width. If you drive on tires with less tread than the legal minimum, you risk receiving up to 3 penalty points on your driving license and a fine of £2,500 per illegal tyre.

Dull blade wipers – fine of up to £2,500

You can never trust the weather, especially if you are on holiday in the UK! That’s why a working set of wipers is essential to ensure you can see the road clearly at all times. In fact, Section 40a of the Highway Traffic Act: Operation of a Vehicle in an Unsafe Condition, Part II, states that: “A person is guilty of an offense if he uses, or does or allows another to use a motor vehicle or a trailer on a road when the condition of the motor vehicle or the trailer, or of its accessories or equipment is such that the use of the motor vehicle or the trailer entails a danger of injury to anyone. This applies to windshield wipers, so you should check the blades for any cracks in the rubber edge, which could prevent the wiper from discharging water properly or leaving streaks in the line of vision . Otherwise, you could be fined up to £2,500 as well as three penalty points.

Non-functioning bulbs – fine of up to £1,000

Be sure to double-check that your lights are working properly, including high and low beams, tail and side lights, and your brake and hazard lights. As driving with one headlight puts you at risk of driving blind if the other goes out while you’re on the move, the police can stop you and fine you a fixed £100. However, if this offense is challenged in court, the fine could be up to £1,000.

Dirty windscreen – fine of up to £1,000

The windscreen washer is essential for removing dirt and mud from the windshield – running on a long trip can prevent you from seeing the road as the dirt builds up. In addition, under Bylaw 30 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 , drivers are warned to keep all windows clear. If you don’t and it affects your ability to see properly, you could be charged with careless driving in the event of an accident – which is a £1,000 fine and three points on your licence. Also, when filling your windshield washer, don’t just fill it with water, use a premixed windshield washer because it contains cleaning agents that cut through grime and will leave your windshield looking like new!

Driving without insurance – fine of up to £300

Obviously, but check that your car breakdown cover is fully up to date and covers your car adequately for the duration of your holiday, especially if you are driving abroad. Some policies will only cover you for a set number of days abroad per year, or only for certain countries. It is essential to check all this before leaving on a trip. In the UK, the police could give you a fixed fine of £300 and six penalty points. However, if the case goes to court, you could receive an unlimited fine and be banned from driving.

Not having a built-in phone holder or sat nav – fine of up to £200

Last month, it became illegal to touch your mobile phone while driving, including when stopped in traffic. Drivers will still be able to use their phone as a GPS, but this is only allowed if their device is “hands-free”. in a phone holder or built-in GPS. However, despite the law, a survey of 1,000 people by Vanarama found that half (46.7%) of motorists surveyed admitted not owning any of these vehicles, putting them at risk of breaking the law. . This equates to a staggering 16.8 million UK drivers. It’s something that should be taken seriously, but as if caught breaking the new rules, you could face a £200 fine and six penalty points.

Dirty number plate – fine of up to £100

When checking your lights, also be sure to forget to wipe dirt off your car’s lights and license plates. As car number plates are used by automatic vehicle recognition systems on toll roads, the DVLA states that drivers are legally required to display their number plate. If a police officer spots you, you risk a £100 fine and a wipe to clean it up.

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