Keep safe on the roads and obey the following laws below.
1. DRIVING IN THE MIDDLE LANE OF A MOTORWAY
Since 2013 the police have had powers to issue on-the-spot fines for drivers who hog the middle lane of three-lane roads without good reason. As stated in Rule 138 of the Highway Code, all drivers must stay in the left-hand lane except when overtaking and return when it’s safe to do so.
The 2013 law change also gave the police powers to award fixed-penalty notices for motorists driving too close to the vehicle in front, or tailgating as it’s commonly known. You should check the stopping distances in Rule 126 in the Highway Code or you could end up with costly fines, or even worse in a serious motoring incident. Keep your distance and remain safe on the roads.
3. MISUSE OF THE HORN
The use of a horn isn’t allowed in built-up areas between 11:30pm and 7am. It should only be used while the car is moving or to alert other road-users to your presence. It should never be used aggressively.
4. FLASHING OF HEADLIGHTS
We’ve all seen people flash their headlights to let us out from a junction – we’ve probably even thanked them for it – but in fact headlights should only ever be flashed to inform other road users of your presence. They shouldn’t be taken as a signal you can proceed.
5. DRIVING IN SNOW AND ICE
We all hate going out to the car on a winter morning and finding it covered in ice, but did you know you have to ensure all your windows are completely clear before driving off? Peering through a small area of a less-than-clear windscreen can land you with a £1,000 fine for driving with restricted visibility.
You should also ensure that any snow is removed from the roof and bonnet before you drive, as it can fall onto the road or your windscreen and create a hazard for you and other road users.
6. PARKING ON THE PAVEMENTS
Parking partially or wholly on the pavement in London has been an offence since 1974. In most other parts of the country it’s subject to local regulation and you shouldn’t do it unless there are signs to say it’s allowed.
7. DIRTY NUMBER PLATES
In accordance with the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulation of 2001 it’s an offence to drive with a dirty or otherwise illegible number plate, which is something to be aware of as we head towards winter. For those with a taste for individuality, the characters must also be the correct size, font and spacing, as any deficiency can incur a fine of £1,000 per plate, even if it does spell your name.
8. BABY-ON-BOARD SIGNS
We’ve all seen them with their multitude of variations, from little princess to monster in transit, but did you know they’re actually designed to alert the emergency services in the event of an accident? You may not want to think about it, but if the adults in the car can’t answer questions or if the car is badly damaged, rescue workers will know to look for babies or small children. These signs should not be carried when there is no baby or child present to avoid the emergency services wasting their time and risking lives.
9. DRIVING THROUGH PUDDLES
You may be surprised to know that if you drive through a puddle and splash pedestrians you can be found guilty of careless and inconsiderate driving in breach of Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act.
Not only is being splashed very unpleasant for the pedestrians involved, but wearing wet clothing puts a person at greater risk of hypothermia and if they’re a long way from home it can have serious implications.
10. LEAVING THE ENGINE RUNNING
Since 2002 it’s been an offence to leave your engine running unnecessarily when parked on a public road. If your car’s likely to be stationary for more than a couple of minutes, it should be switched off to reduce emissions and noise pollution.
In addition to these laws, it is also important to keep your vehicle in good, working condition. Of course an MOT is essential in making sure your car is road legal but a regular service can also help extend the life of your vehicle. At Dowleys we offer an comprehensive vehicle servicing package so you can be certain your vehicle is safe on the roads.