Driving during the winter can be daunting, especially when the weather is unpredictable and extreme. Even worse, if you were to end up in an accident, some common winter car practices and time savers can actually invalidate your car insurance policy.
So, before you splash out on a new car, get a rental through work, or enter a car competition like Dream Car Giveaways this winter, make sure you are clued up on these 5 winter car mistakes that can land you in hot water with your insurance.
Leaving Snow on Your roof
“Before you set off, remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users” – The Highway Code, Rule 229.
It can be tempting to only clear the snow that might block your view as a driver. However, leaving snow on your roof has the potential to fall off into the path of other road users, and is therefore a motoring offense.
If you are pulled over for driving with snow on your roof, you can face 3 points on your license and a £60 fine.
Remember to also clear snow from your lights and number plates, as this is subject to an additional £1,000 fine. If you are involved in an accident whilst committing these offences, this will invalidate your insurance policy.
“You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows” – The Highway Code, Rule 229.
Some drivers might only de-ice the section of the windscreen that they need to see out of whilst they are driving. However, not only will this invalidate your insurance policy, but it can also result in 3 points on your license or a £60 fine.
Leaving the Car Idling
“You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road” – The Highway Code, Rule 123.
Enforced by Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is illegal to leave your engine idling whilst you are not in the car. That’s right, even if you are blasting your heaters to speed up the defrosting process or warm up the car, you might be breaking the law.
This is because an idling engine produces unnecessary CO2 emissions and noise pollution. If you are caught with your engine running whilst not inside the car, you can face a fine of £20 to £40.
Driving in Your Woolies and Boots
“You should ensure that clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner” – The Highway Code, Rule 97.
Everyone has heard that you shouldn’t drive in flip flops or high heels, but did you know that the same applies for any clothing that could impede your driving ability?
If you get into an accident whilst wearing wellies, walking boots, bulky coats, scarves, and so on, and it is determined that your clothing put you at risk, not only will your insurance be invalid but you could also receive 9 points on your license, a £5,000 fine, or a day in court.
Keeping Fog Lights On
“You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced” – The Highway Code, Rule 236.