Picture the scene, you’re late for work, your kids are cold and you need to get from A- B in a rush. Your car looks more like an igloo, and is covered in snow. Worse still, the snow is full of ice and won’t shift easily from your windscreen.
a) Leave the engine running to thaw the snow whilst you retreat to your nice warm house and panic about how late you’re going to be
b) Clear some snow from your window in order to create a peep hole from which you can peer out until the rest of the windscreen clears during the journey
c) Spend as long as it takes with the ice scraper and de-icer to clear the front window
d) Spend even longer removing snow and Ice from ALL windows, mirrors, number plates, and ensuring that there is no accumulation of snow on top of your car.
e) Call the day a write off and get back under your nice warm duvet with a hot chocolate
Each year, you and I have probably witnessed countless shocking examples of A and B above and it is likely that most people have been guilty of driving off without clearing their windows as well as they should.
Before you gamble the extra couple of minutes that you might gain by starting your day in this way, please bear the following in mind.
Driving without fully clearing the windows could result in 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine for not being in proper control of your vehicle. If the state of your windscreen means that you are unable to have a full view of the road ahead then you will commit this offence. People who already have 9 points should be particularly weary of this offence, since it would tip them over into “totting up” territory where they could face a 6 month ban from driving.
Driving with too much snow on your vehicle in general (e.g. on the roof) could result in between 3-9 points on your licence and a fine of up to £5000 for careless or inconsiderate driving. Think about it; you get in your car and it’s full of snow. You get to your destination and it’s gone. Gone where? Possibly into the path of another motorist. Again, a conviction for this offence could not only affect your insurance premium, but would also affect your current or future liability under the totting up regime.
Leaving the engine running to let the snow thaw whilst you return to the house is an offence. It is considered dangerous and could result in the theft of your vehicle and could also invalidate your insurance. The offence of “quitting” is committed by leaving a vehicle unattended despite the engine being on. You would receive a fine regardless of whether your vehicle is capable of being locked without the engine being stopped.
All of the above are extremely dangerous, particularly when the weather is cold and the conditions are already hazardous enough in the first place.
If the snow does come this year as predicted, please remember the potential consequences of the extra couple of the minutes that you might gain by driving off before the car is fully safe for both you and others. Take the time to clear snow and Ice from ALL windows, mirrors, number plates, and ensure that there is no accumulation of snow on top of your car. Remember, you might get there late, but at least you’ll get there safe.
If in any doubt, remember that you can always call 0333 323 1830 to speak to an expert motoring lawyer who can give you free advice. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Written by expert motoring lawyer, Alison Ashworth
If you have committed a motoring offence and need expert advice or representation, call 0333 323 1830 to give yourself the best chance of staying on the roads this year!