AS temperatures set to plummet in the UK this week – motorists are warned the weather can wreak havoc on their cars.
When the weather forecast is grim, it’s important to protect yourself and others when you drive on the road – and avoid making simple mistakes that could result in an accident or a fine.
Here are four common mistakes drivers make during the winter months that can risk a hefty fine or even points on your driver’s license.
You may know that you shouldn’t drive with snow or ice on your car’s windshield, but did you also know that you have to erase your license plate number?
If your car number plate is covered up and others can’t read it, it could result in a £1,000 fine.
This is because it needs to be clear in order for the license plate to be registered with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
A unique number plate also tells police when and where the engine is registered and whether you have road tax, are insured and have a valid MOT.
Always check your license plate number before driving to make sure it’s free of snow, ice or dirt.
A regular ice scraper should be all you need to keep it clean.
Under-inflated tires can be dangerous regardless of the weather.
A common car myth is that flat tires give you better traction in the snow – but that’s not true.
A properly inflated tire has more grip on the road, prevents skidding and lets you brake in time.
In the cold season, tires can lose pressure much more quickly.
The correct pressure to which your tires should be inflated can be found in your manual or in the driver’s door.
Don’t forget to check the tread pattern too – it needs to be at least 1.6mm deep across three quarters of the tire’s width, and experts recommend 3mm to be on the safe side.
If you have bald tyres, you can be fined £2,500 per tire – that’s £10,000 if all four tires don’t comply with the rules.
The RAC recommends checking your tires at least once a week during the winter.
You might think that wearing snowshoes is a good idea to keep your feet warm in inclement weather, but not when you’re behind the wheel.
While wellies and other winter footwear aren’t technically illegal while driving, you could still get in trouble.
Wearing improper footwear can carry a £100 fine and three points on your driving license in an accident and this is considered the reason.
Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that “clothes and shoes shall not prevent you from using the controls properly”.
So if you plan to wear snowshoes, always bring appropriate footwear for breaking in.
While driving through a puddle and splashing a pedestrian might seem like harmless fun, it could get you in trouble.
You can be hit by a public order offense and risk paying £100 or up to £5,000 if the pedestrian involved goes to court.
RAC Road Safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “Anyone unfortunate enough to get soaked by a reckless motorist who splashed them while driving through a puddle would likely welcome a sizeable financial penalty for the driver.
“Since 2013 negligent driving can be punished with a fixed criminal charge of £100 and three penalty points.”