The Six Winter Driving Rules You May Not Know About

Driving in winter comes with its own challenges. Here are six rules concerning winter driving conditions that you may not be aware of…

Frozen and Misty Windscreens

It should go without saying, but your windscreen should be completely clear before you start driving your vehicle. Why? Because you need complete visibility whilst behind the wheel. During colder weather, it’s possible that your car’s windscreen will freeze over or become misty; especially when it’s left parked somewhere. Unfortunately, drivers are caught every year having only cleared a small section of their windscreens; putting themselves, and other road-users, at significant risk.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulation 30 states that ‘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’. In other words, you need to keep your windscreen clear. Should you fail to do so, you can be fined and given three penalty points.

Snow on your Car

It’s not actually illegal to drive your car when it’s covered in snow; it’s a common misconception. However, section 3 of the Road Traffic Act states ‘if a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence’.

In other words, if you drive a vehicle covered to the brim in snow and some of it falls off and causes an accident, you’re liable for prosecution. So, before setting out, clear your car of excess snow and ice.

State of your Number Plate

In some parts of the world, such as in some parts of Russia, it’s actually illegal to drive around in a dirty vehicle. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, this isn’t the case in the UK. However, there are two parts of your vehicle that must be kept clean and clear of debris. These are your car’s lights and its number plate.

Naturally, your lights need to be clean in order to function properly. As for your number plate, it’s the only way your vehicle can be properly recognised. If you fail to keep yours visible, you can actually face a fine of £1,000.

Fog Lights

Believe it or not, but there’s no legal obligation to use your car’s fog lights. However, you’d be a fool not to when visibility is significantly reduced. That said, Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 25 and 27 state that they must not be used “at any time other than in conditions of seriously reduced visibility”.

If you’ve ever been dazzled by a driver using their fog lights irresponsibly, you’ll understand the need for these rules. When you see another car approaching, temporarily dip your lights.

Winter Driving Kit 

Some countries require drivers to keep certain things in their vehicles at all times. Anyone who’s ever taken a ferry to France will be familiar with the kits containing high-visibility jackets and warning triangles that are often sold. However, no such requirements exist in the UK and that also goes for winter driving kits.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t pack one. Winter weather conditions can be tough, and greatly increase a car’s changes of breaking down or getting stuck. In which case, some tools can go a long way.

Appropriate Foot Wear

Interestingly enough, there are legal boundaries when it comes to what kind of footwear you use whilst driving. Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that you must make sure that your “clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”. Precisely what this means is open to debate and interpretation.

However, it’s likely that many drivers will choose to don wellies and large boots in the winter. These can be quite cumbersome, and can make using a car’s pedals a challenge. If you cause an accident whilst wearing them, you could face prosecution.

Defrosting Your Car? Here’s Some Dos And Don’ts To Remember –

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