As we take advantage of those late summer staycations and day trips out before the kids return to school, motorists are being warned that there are a host of driving laws they could be breaking this August.
Young driver insurers, Marmalade has looked into the most common driving laws we break whilst on the roads in summer, which could leave you with a nasty fine or points on your licence:
Delayering at the wheel when it gets too warm
Potential fine: £5,000 + penalty points
Removing items of clothing whilst behind the wheel can seriously impact your driving. Being inappropriately dressed could cause an array of issues and could lead drivers to take their hands off the wheel and momentarily lose sight of the road if removing a jumper or top.
If pulled over for delayering, traffic cops could slap you with a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points for careless driving.
But, if the incident goes to court, the penalty for driving without due care and attention could leave motorists with fines of up to £2,500, or £5,000 in extreme cases, with motorists even issued penalty points and a possible driving ban.
The Highway Code states that drivers should keep their vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness and keep temperatures cool, while the clothing and footwear worn when driving must not prevent the driver from using the controls in the correct manner.
Hay fever medication causing drowsiness
Potential Fine: Unlimited fine + one-year driving ban
One in four people in the UK has hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) and with regular “pollen bombs” occurring throughout the summer months sufferers will feel the effects. But how many people check the side effects of what they are taking to ease symptoms – and whether they’re OK to drive?
Certain antihistamines can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness and confusion, thus severely affecting a driver’s abilities and could result in some trouble with the law.
Driving under the influence of any drug is illegal if it impairs your abilities, including prescription and over-the-counter medications. A conviction for drug-driving carries a minimum of a one-year driving ban and an unlimited fine, whilst the worst offences can carry a six-month jail sentence.
Changing your air conditioning filter can also be a great help for keeping pollen out of your car whilst also keeping you cool.
Wearing inappropriate footwear
Potential Fine: £5,000 + penalty points
With the increasing temperatures it’s likely that you’ll want your fashion choices to reflect the warmer weather. A fashion staple of summer, flip flops are ideal for the beach but less so for the car.
Rule 97 of the highway code states that before setting off you should ensure that clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner.
Flip flops could be considered as contravening this.
That means if you’re in an accident and the police see that you have flip flops on, you’re liable for a “driving without due care and attention” charge – which carries a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on your license.
If it goes to court that rises to a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine, nine penalty points and potentially a driving ban.
Against the paw
Potential Fine: £5,000
We often see pooches riding shotgun over the summer months, with their tails wagging and joyful expressions, however unrestrained pets could cause accidents, near misses or emergency stops.
In fact, driving with an unrestrained pet could cost you up to £5,000 in fines.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.
“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
Whilst disobeying the Highway Code doesn’t carry a direct penalty, you could be pulled over and fined for driving without proper control if your pet distracts you.
The Wrong Sunglasses
Potential fine: £5,000 + penalty points
It isn’t a legal requirement to wear sunglasses whilst driving, however not putting them on could see you hit with a careless driving charge.
If you’re driving in bright conditions, or the sun shines in your eyes and you’re not wearing tinted lenses, it could cause you to momentarily take your eyes off the road, resulting in a ‘driving without due care and attention’ claim.
According to Rule 237 of the Highway Code, drivers need to slow down or pull over if they are “dazzled by bright sunlight”.