As the first of the Winter weather descends upon us it is important to bear in mind a number of road traffic laws that have extra significance at this time of year.

Snow and Ice on the Windscreen
The dark winter mornings are bad enough without having to scrape and de-ice your windscreen.  The temptation is often there to simply clear a spyhole in the ice or snow and then set off on your journey letting the heaters do the rest of the work of clearing the windscreens.  Doing so could cost you in the pocket and may cost your licence or even your liberty!

At the very least it would be an offence under the Construction and Use Regulations.  They state 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”.

Breach of this is punishable by a fine of up to £1000.

It is possible that you could also commit the offence of dangerous driving.  The law states that a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous.  Taking the decision to drive with extremely limited vision could amount to this offence and if there was an accident it is something that the police would consider.

Dangerous driving carries a mandatory ban of a minimum 12 months and a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment.

If you are driving your vehicle with excess snow on it and it drops off into the path of other motorists you could find yourself prosecuted for driving without reasonable consideration which occurs if people are inconvenienced by your driving.  This offence carries penalty points and a fine.

Splashing pedestrians
Whilst some may (incorrectly) think it funny to splash pedestrians from puddles or surface water they may not realise that they could be committing an offence.  Once again they could be guilty of driving without reasonable consideration and could face a fine and penalty points.  The Crown Prosecution Service specifically mentions this as an example of this offence.

Dirty Registration Plates
It is very common for number plates to become obscured with dirt once the gritters start doing their work on the roads.  If a number plate becomes obscured or rendered or allowed to become not easily distinguishable the driver could be fined up to £1000.

It is important that all drivers obey the law whatever time of year but in the Winter extra thought needs to be applied.

Whatever the time of year we are on hand to give advice and assistance 24 hours a day.  

About the author

Callum is the head of the Motor and Transport team.  He is a solicitor with over 15 years of experience dealing with road traffic and transport matters.