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Six things drivers need to know about driving in ice and snow – or risk a fine of £10,000


DRIVING in the ice and snow can be tricky and making a mistake could result in you being hit with a fine of up to £10,000.

Temperatures  have plummeted across the UK, bringing a blanket of snow to many areas – we explain what you need to know about driving in winter weather conditions.

 Improve your visibility by clearing your roof and windscreen

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Improve your visibility by clearing your roof and windscreen

Chaos caused by Storm Arwen is set to bring more 90mph winds and huge blizzards this week.

But how does that affect you if you’re trying to make the commute into work in the morning when the temperatures suddenly take a dive?

Ice and snow makes for pretty treacherous driving conditions – especially in the lead up to Christmas as many are zipping around trying to complete their shopping.

We explain what to avoid if you’re a driver and it’s been snowing, so you can keep safe on the road.

The tips will also help you avoid a penalty too as in some cases you could be met with a fine worth up to £10,000.

If you have to drive at all, check out this list to avoid violating your insurance – or getting slapped with that whopping fine.

Defrosting your car

Nipping out to switch your engine on early may seem like a clever way to make your car comfy and defrost the windscreen.

But you can invalidate your insurance if you leave the motor running unattended.

That is because most brokers will refuse to pay out if drivers fail to live up to their “duty of care” — a common clause in contracts.

Michael Lloyd, the AA’s insurance director, said: “Every winter we get reports of members’ cars that have disappeared off drives.

“The fact is that the keys are the weakest link in the car security chain and leaving your car unattended, unlocked and with the keys in in it is simply inviting it to be stolen.

“If it is ticking over, warming up, it makes the thief’s job very easy.

“Every insurance policy carries with it a ‘duty of care’ which means that you should take reasonable steps to protect your property and not do anything that could avoidably lead to loss or damage.

“And leaving your car with the engine running falls squarely into that category.

“No insurance company will meet a claim where you have left your car open to be stolen.”

Clear snow off the roof

While having snow on your roof is not prohibited it could land you in deep drift with the law.

Should clumps fall onto your windscreen or onto another car you could be penalised for using a motor vehicle “in a dangerous condition”.

Driving a car “in a dangerous condition” comes with a £2,500 fine and careless driving has an unlimited fine.

The RAC says: “Even if you’re only making a two-minute journey, by not thoroughly cleaning your car of snow, ice or condensation… you’re breaking the law and leaving yourself liable to a run in with the police.”

Clean your windows and lights

Every glass panel used to see from and even your head and tail lights need to be scrubbed of ice and condensation to ensure you are within the law.

The RAC adds: “The Highway Code stipulates that if driving in adverse weather conditions you must, by law, be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle.

“This is supported by the section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988, meaning it is a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead before you set off.

“Failure to do so could incur a fine, but more importantly could place your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives of those around you in danger.

“This also means ensuring your windscreen is de-iced on the outside and thoroughly demisted on the inside.”

De-ice your license plate

Even your licence plate needs to be free of ice and snow.

Driving without a readable number plate could land you with a £1,000 fine.

Drivers could be accused of purposely trying to avoid the detection of speed cameras by keeping them covered over.

The RAC explains: “In addition, it is also the law that all lights and number plates are clearly visible too.”

Choose the right winter tyres

The AA recommends that drivers have tires with at least 3mm of tread for the winter.

You shouldn’t let out your tyres to get more grip as it doesn’t work and its not safe.

You should also only use snow chains if there’s enough snow to prevent damage to the road.

The AA also recommends thinking about getting winter tyres or all-season tyres, which are made from a special rubber that gives better grip in cold, wet conditions.

You can be fined up to £10,000 for having faulty tyres – or £2,500 per wheel.

Make your car visible in poor winter weather

You can be fined up to £1,000 for failing to switch your car lights on when you’re driving.

Make sure they’re all working before you set out on your journey, and turn them on if you have to get out to clear snow.

If you use fog lights, remember to switch them off when visibility improves so they don’t dazzle other drivers or obscure your brake lights.

Shocking video of aftermath of 17 vehicle pile-up on A120 as Beast from the East snow and severe weather causes huge crash in Essex


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