Nobody wants to get fined or have points added to their licence, especially if it’s for things you didn’t even realise would result in such consequences. For instance, having a dirty number plate could mean a fine of up to £1,000! It’s a good idea to check the Highway Code regularly, to see if you’re up to date with all the regulations. You can also ensure you avoid both points and fines.
To help you get started, we’ve outlined five fines that may surprise you below!
1. Illegal Tyres
We’ll start with the obvious one – you probably already know that if your tyres aren’t fit for purpose, you are at risk of being fined, and have three points added to your licence. The fine is for up to £2,500. What you may not realise is that this is per tyre. So if all four of your tyres were illegal, that could result in a fine of £10,000 and a total of twelve penalty points.
If you are concerned about your tyres being bald, or having a tread below the legal limit, there are ways to check this. The simplest method is to use a 20 pence piece. The idea is to insert the 20p coin into the tread grooves of your tyre, and check whether the outer band of the coin is visible. If not, the tyre is above the legal limit, but if you can see the outer band, you should replace the tyre. The RAC recommends that you conduct this test every two weeks or so, as well as before long journeys.
There are also gauges and tools you can buy which will help you assess whether your tyres are roadworthy. The colour coded tools should let you know whether your tyres are legal or not at a glance.
2. Dirty Number Plate
Some of us may not wash our vehicles as regularly as we should, which can cause the number plate to get rather dirty. This is particularly true in the winter months, when nobody wants to go outside and wash their car! But if the grime builds up enough that your number plate becomes unreadable, which goes against the Highway Code, this can result in a £1,000 fine.
It’s good practice to check your car over after driving on dirty roads (some motorways are notorious for being filthy!) and wiping away any dirt on your number plate, lights and indicators.
3. Cigarette Littering
Did you know that throwing a cigarette butt out of your car window, regardless of whether the car is moving or not, can lead to a fixed penalty notice of £50 to £100? The incorrect disposal of a cigarette is considered littering, and therefore comes with the relevant fines and consequences.
Unlike using your phone while driving, smoking at the wheel isn’t technically an offence. However, due to the impact litter, such as cigarette butts, is having on the environment, a fine for dropping such things from your car window was introduced. This is in line with the current UK litter laws.
4. Broken Handbrake
It’s always important to avoid wear and tear on all parts of your vehicle. With the handbrake, you should ensure that you’re not too forceful when applying it. If the handbrake isn’t working properly, this will obviously affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle, and can lead to a fine of up to £2,500.
It’s also good to bear in mind that if a faulty handbrake is the cause of an accident, there’s a strong probability that your insurance policy will be void. This would mean you’d have to cover your own repairs, and those of any other vehicles involved, from your own pocket.
5. Going Beyond the ASL
The ASL are the Advanced Stop Lines just in front of a set of traffic lights. They are white lines on the ground, which, according to the Highway Code, you’re not allowed to stop beyond when waiting for the lights to change. If you were to do this, you could be landed with a £100 fine, along with three points on your licence.
The Advanced Stop Lines are intended to reserve a space at the front of a queue of traffic for cyclists. That way, they’ll be more visible to other motorists. So to ensure the safety of cyclists and to avoid the risk of a fine, make sure you don’t go beyond the ASL, leaving plenty of space for bicycles in front.
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