PLENTY of Brits will next week set out on the road for staycations during the May half-term.
You may be heading off to the Lake District or Cornwall countryside to celebrate, however, it’s inevitable to run into some driving difficulties on the road.
To help, the experts at Vanarama have shared seven pre-travel car checks you should carry out – preventing £7,600 in potential penalty point fines.
Tyres that have the wrong tread depth – fine of up to £2,500 per tyre
Whilst you don’t need to carry a spare tyre on the road with you, there are rules to follow if you do choose to.
You must ensure the tyre pressure is suitable for driving and that the tread depth meets the minimum requirement of 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre width.
If you are found driving on tyres that have tread lower than the legal minimum, you can risk receiving up to 3 penalty points on your driving licence and a fine of £2,500 per illegal tyre.
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Windscreen wipers with blunt blades – fine of up to £2,500
You can never trust the weather, especially if you're holidaying in the UK! That's why a working set of windscreen wipers is essential to ensure you can see the road clearly at all times.
In fact, Section 40a of The Road Traffic Act: Using a Vehicle in a Dangerous Condition Part II, states that: “A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another to use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when the condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or of its accessories or equipment is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person.”
This applies to windscreen wipers, so you should check the blades for any splits in the rubber edge, which could prevent the wiper from clearing water properly or leaving streaks in the line of view.
If not, you could be met with a fine of up to £2,500 as well as three penalty points.
Non-working lightbulbs – fine of up to £1,000
Make sure you double-check that your lights are working properly, including full and dipped-beam headlights, rear, and sidelights, plus your brake and hazard lights.
As driving with one headlight puts you at risk of driving with no visibility if the other goes out whilst you are in motion, police are able to stop you and hand a fixed penalty notice fine of £100.
However, if this offence is challenged in court, the fine could rise to £1,000.
Dirty windscreen – fine of up to £1,000
Screenwash is key for removing dirt and muck from the windscreen – running out on a long trip could leave you with difficulty seeing the road as more dirt builds up.
Plus, under Regulation 30 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, drivers are warned that they must keep all glass clear of obstruction.
If you don’t and it affects your ability to see properly, you could be charged with careless driving in the event of an accident – which is a £1,000 fine and three points on your license.
Also, when filling your screen wash, don't just fill it up with water, use premixed screen wash as this contains cleaning agents that cut through the grime and will leave your windscreen looking as good as new!
Driving whilst uninsured – fine of up to £300
It's an obvious one but double-check that your car's breakdown cover is fully up to date and that it covers your car adequately for the duration of your holiday, especially if you're driving abroad.
Some policies will only cover you for a set number of days per year abroad, or only for certain countries. It's vital to check all of this before setting off on your travels.
In the UK, the police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points, however, if the case goes to court, you could receive an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.
Not owning a phone holder or built-in sat-nav system – fine of up to £200
Last month, it become illegal to touch your mobile phone whilst driving, including when you’re stationary in traffic.
Drivers will still be able to use their phones as satnavs, but this is only allowed if their device is ‘hands-free’ in a phone holder or a built-in sat-nav.
However, despite the law, a 1,000 person survey by Vanarama found that half (46.7 per cent) of motorists surveyed admitted to not owning either of these – putting them at risk of breaking the law.
This amounts to a staggering 16.8 million UK drivers. This is something that should be taken seriously though as if you’re caught breaking the new rules, you could face up to a £200 fine and six penalty points.
Dirty number plate – fine of up to £100
When checking your lights, also make sure to forget to wipe that grime off your car's lights and number plates.
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As car number plates are used by the automatic vehicle recognition systems on toll roads, the DVLA states that drivers are legally required to display their number plate.
If a police officer spots you, you may be faced with a £100 fine and a wipe to clean it.
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