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Driving is an essential part of daily life for many and unfortunately, that means dealing with driving fines and even penalty points from time to time. Our temporary car insurance will ensure you are always able to drive insured, but there are plenty of other causes for driving fines.

Whilst penalties for speeding, drunk driving, and causing danger on the road are all very well known, there are plenty of other causes for fines you may not be as wise to. We’ve collated lots of unexpected reasons here, to help you stay road safe and free from fines…

Over Packing the Car Fines

When it comes to carrying things in your vehicle, overpacking could land you a  £100 – £2,500 fine and invalidate your insurance. Drivers could face a fixed penalty for over-filling the car, exceeding the weight limit or obstructing the view of the road. In serious cases, the possibility of being banned from driving or receiving three points on your licence is possible if your car is deemed to be being driven in a dangerous condition. This can in turn invalidate your vehicle insurance.

Fine for Running Out of Fuel

Fuel gauge roulette is never a good idea. According to the Highway Code (rule 97) before setting off, drivers must ensure they have enough fuel for their entire journey. Breaking down and causing an obstruction to traffic because your car is running on empty can result in a £100 fine and/or points on your licence.

Don’t Drive with Bald or Low Pressure Tyres

The legal limit for tread on tyres is 1.6mm and unfortunately, there’s a fine for ‘bald tyres’ that are thinner than this. As a result, tyres below that depth can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre – and even three points on your licence. If every tyre’s bald, you could be facing a bill for up to £10,000! Additionally, all four tyres should be at the correct pressure (which you can usually find on the sticker inside the driver’s door).

Fines for Using Your Phone or SatNav

Ever wondered whether you can (legally) use your phone as a sat nav whilst driving? Sorry to disappoint you… but holding any type of device that’s receiving data when you’re driving – even if you are sat in traffic – is a major no-no and you could receive 6 penalty points and a £200 fine for doing so. Plus, if you’ve had your licence for less than two years, you could be banned from driving altogether. It is of course okay to set your phone running to operate as your navigation before you set off, but if you’re messing with it whilst driving, that’s when you could face a fine.

Don’t Drive with a Dirty Number Plate

Your number plate is a really important feature for Police to ascertain when and where it’s registered, so it needs to be visible at all times! Under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, drivers who have dirty, obstructed or hard-to-read licence plates could face a fine of up to £1,000.

Disclose Pre Existing Medical Conditions

Driving with an existing medical condition (that appears on this list) and not informing the DVLA could land you with a hefty £1,000 fine. DVLA estimates there are more than 1m motorists on the road with an undisclosed health issue – make sure you’re not in that group.

Fines for Splashing People With Puddles

Anyone caught deliberately driving through a puddle to splash a pedestrian faces a fine of up to £5,000 and three points on their licence. Being a pedestrian who gets splashed is a day ruiner, so don’t do it and risk a hefty fine ruining your day too.

Driving Without De-Fogging or De-Icing Windows

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rush, you should never set off driving if your windows and mirrors are iced over or they could suddenly fog up as you are on the move. The same goes for letting your windows become foggy while you’re driving. The dangers are obvious, not being able to see can only lead to accidents, but it can also lead you to a fine of up to £2,500, three points and even the risk of a driving disqualification.

You’ll Be Fined for Obstructing Emergency Services

When you see the flashing lights and sirens of emergency services approaching you, it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re not blocking their way. This can sometimes be difficult but you should always safely make an effort to move out of the way, allowing the response teams to easily make their way through. If you make no effort to move and delay the response time of the emergency services you could be putting lives at risk. If you don’t make an effort to move and end up obstructing them you could also face a fine of up to £5,000.

Pets Must Be Restrained

The Highway Code says dogs have to be ‘suitably restrained’ whilst they are in the car, and failure to do so could land you with a fine of up to £5,000! Dogs shouldn’t be able to freely move around the car, both for their safety and the driver’s. Ideally, dogs should be in a crate, carrier or harness. If they are in the boot, dog guards should be in place so they can’t jump through to the front.

The Rules Around Sunglasses Whilst Driving

Whilst sunglasses are important to prevent glare damaging your vision whilst on the roads, if you wear them at the wrong time they could cost you dearly. You should never drive in sunglasses outside of daylight hours, and doing so could result in a fine of up to £2,500 as you’re compromising how clearly you can see the road and your surroundings.

Dutch Reach Rules

The Dutch Reach method for opening car doors has been a recommendation of The Highway Code since Jan 2022. It encourages drivers and passengers to check for cyclists, walkers and other traffic before opening car doors, by using the opposite arm to the door when opening. In case of an accident, you won’t be fined for not opening your door following the Dutch Reach method, but you could face a fine of up to £1,000 for ‘Car Dooring’ which is an offence.

Fines for Not Supervising Learner Drivers Properly

There are many rules for supervising a learner driver, and one of them is not being on your mobile phone whilst doing so. Just like if you were driving, if you are caught on your phone whilst supervising a learner you could face a £1,000 fine. So, the next time you help out with some driving practice make sure you are paying full attention.

Not Concentrating on the Road

This shouldn’t come as an unexpected fine, but being deemed to not be concentrating on the road whilst driving could land you with a £5,000 fine. Playing music too loudly, wearing headphones and turning around to talk to passengers in the back could all be viewed as limiting your concentration on the road. So when driving, limit distractions in the car to ensure your concentration is never jeopardised, as it’s not just a fine you would be risking, but also an accident.

Fines for Not Reporting Hitting an Animal

Hitting an animal with your car is seen as the same as any traffic collision and it must be reported to the police. Failure to do so could see you being fined up to £5,000. Interestingly though this only applies to a handful of animal types including dogs, horses, cattle, donkeys, sheep, pigs and goats. Whilst you may not be fined for not reporting hitting other animals like cats, deer or badgers, it is still advisable to report the incident.

Whenever you’re driving you should always strive to be safe and that means having full visibility of your surroundings and staying focused on the road. Whilst some of these fines might seem surprising, ensuring you comply with the law will only mean you’ll be driving more safely – protecting your wallet and your life. 

Whilst we can’t help you avoid all those fines, we can help you get comprehensive cover in under two minutes, so you can always drive insured whether you’re borrowing a car or need insurance for driving practice, our temporary cover is there for you. 

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