5 tips to avoid being fined this Christmas

5 tips to avoid being fined this Christmas

This December, more than a quarter of us will be getting into the Christmas spirit and begin decorating our homes for Christmas, according to a survey. However, Julie Daniels from the insurance team at Comparethemarket has warned drivers to ensure that they aren’t putting themselves at risk of receiving a fine when collecting their tree this year.

Daniels states: “Even though there aren’t any laws specifically related to transporting a Christmas tree, drivers could still face fines or penalty points when driving with a tree on, or in their vehicle.”
“Regulation 100 of the Road Vehicles Regulations 1986 requires any load to be suitably secured so that it is not at risk of falling off or being blown off the vehicle – and if police or even other witnesses believe a tree is unsecure or unsafe, drivers could face three penalty points or a fine of up to £2,500.

“In addition, Regulation 30 clearly states that drivers need to have a full view of the road ahead, so if the tree obscures this or causes damage that could affect the driver’s vision of the road, they could be at risk of receiving a £1000 fine or three penalty points.”

“Even drivers who are not transporting a tree need to be aware that they could be penalised, because if a road user witnesses a Christmas tree cause an incident, and does not stop or report it, they face risking an unlimited fine or up to 10 penalty points.”

The following are some tips for driving safely with your Christmas tree this December:

• Take a measurement of the tree beforehand to make sure it will fit securely in or on your vehicle, without interfering with the functioning of the vehicle. This includes having no obstruction to your steering, gears, indicators, mirrors or front and back windscreen.

• If you need to use the roof rack, ensure that the tree is tied down tightly and securely with ropes or bungee cords, ensuring the stump is facing the front of the car. It is important that none of the branches overhang and obstruct your view whilst driving.

• Drive a bit slower and take extra caution when breaking to avoid dislodging the tree.

Some other offences that may lead to a fine this Christmas include:

1. Using your phone for navigation if it is not fixed to a surface

Some of us may rely on our phones to navigate using the maps feature, especially in unfamiliar areas. However, you should only be doing this if your phone is either fixed to your windscreen or dashboard in a holder device where you can see it clearly but it is not distracting you whilst driving. Looking at your phone for navigation while it is in your lap or in the centre console between the passenger seat and drivers seat, as an example, can lead to a fine of up to £200 and six points on your licence.

2. Splashing a pedestrian with a puddle

Driving through a puddle at speed which means a pedestrian is splashed with water will come with a £100 fixed penalty notice and three points if caught by police. This falls under the category of “driving without reasonable consideration for other persons.” In extreme cases, you could be considered as driving in a way that “amounts to a clear act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience and aggressiveness” and could lead to fines of a maximum of £5,000.

3. Driving too slowly

Driving too slowly can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. Drivers who are travelling at half the speed limit could easily be driven into the back of by drivers who are travelling faster. Whilst there is no minimum speed limit on the roads, it is common sense to not drive so slow that you are putting other road users and yourself in danger.

4. Having a dirty number plate

Letting your licence plate become unreadable is a criminal offence. While it may be accidental, a dirty number plate is hard to be seen by police officers and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. It is suggested to wipe it to keep it clean if you notice it becoming dirty.

5. Sounding the horn out of road rage

Many drivers are guilty of laying on the car horn when inconvenienced on the road by another driver. People sounding the horn out of aggression could be fined £30. The horn should only be sounded to alert other drivers of your presence, and it should never be sounded between 11:30pm and 7:00am on a road with street lights and a speed limit of 30MPH.

5 tips to avoid being fined this Christmas

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