Winter weather is sweeping across the country this December and many of us across the country woke up to lovely, snowy scenes outside our homes today. While it's magical to look at when you're inside next to a warm fireplace, it can be dangerous once you climb into your car.
The biggest risk when getting in a vehicle in such weather conditions, is the ice and snow on the road which decreases friction between the tarmac and your tyres, leaving you more likely to skid and making stopping distances 10 times longer.
Obviously we all scrape the ice off our windscreen before setting off so we can see clearly. However, many drivers cause another risk after scraping their car and it could land you with a huge fine.
In particular, drivers are failing to scrape the snow off the roof of their cars!
While driving with snow on your roof isn't technically illegal, if it falls on to your windscreen while driving or flies into the path of another car then you could be penalised for such offences as 'driving without due consideration' or 'using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition', according to the RAC.
Section 229 of the Highway Code states;
“Drivers must remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users".
Driving with snow on the roof of your car could therefore land you with a £60 fine and three points on your licence.
Reducing the Risks
Make sure your vision isn't impaired;
Keep the windscreen and other windows clear.
Clear snow from the roof as well as from windows as this can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view. It can be a hazard to other road users as well.
Dazzle from a low winter sun can be a particular problem.
Use air conditioning for faster demisting and to reduce condensation on cold windows.
Make sure that wipers are switched off in the park position when leaving the car, when there's risk of freezing. If you don't and the blades freeze to the screen, you could damage the blades or wiper motor when you turn the ignition on.
Top up Windscreen washer fluid and treat with a suitable additive to reduce the chance of freezing. Don't use ordinary engine antifreeze as it will damage paintwork.
If you happen to forget to scrape the snow off your roof or are subject to prosecution for any other driving offence this winter, we have specialist knowledge and experience of dealing with careless driving offences, often avoiding the imposition of any penalty points or reducing the amount to the minimum. So, if you need advice contact our exceptional team of driving offence solicitors including Sheila Ramshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0191 232 0283.