FROM parking incorrectly at night to not buckling up your pets, we round up seven driving mistakes that could land you a fine of up to £5,000.
As well as penalty charges, you also risk points being added to your licence.
If you wrack up 12 points, you will be banned from driving for a minimum of six months.
This can rise to a two-year ban if you get a third disqualification in three years.
If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more you must apply for a new licence before driving again.
The below fines are the absolute maximum penalty you could receive for these offences, with some of them increasing through court action.
Ways to cut down on your fuel costs
IF you’re still driving during the pandemic, here are some tips on how you can slash the cost of fuel.
- Make your car more fuel-efficient. You can do this by keeping your tyres inflated, taking the roof rack off, emptying your car of clutter and turning off your air con when driving at lower speeds.
- Find the cheapest fuel prices. PetrolPrices.com and Confused.com allows you to search prices of UK petrol stations. All you need to do is enter in your postcode and tell it how far you want to travel (up to 20 miles).
- Drive more efficiently. Some ways to do this, include:
- Accelerate gradually without over-revving
- Always drive on the highest possible gear
- If you can, allow your car to slow down naturally as your brake is a money burner
- Re-starting your car is expensive, if you can keep moving
Andy Alderson, founder and CEO of vehicle leasing company Vanarama, said: “Most motorists will have been driving less than usual through the lockdown periods, it can take time to get used to driving again once you’ve been off the road for a while.
“The last thing motorists need is to be hit with points on their license and hefty fines for driving offences they may not have heard of or have forgotten about whilst being off the road.”
1. Driving with unrestrained pets – up to £5,000 fine
Drivers risk fines of up to £5,000 if they let their pets roam loose in their cars.
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.”
While there isn’t a direct fine for driving with an unrestrained pet, motorists could be pulled over by police and fined up to £1,000 for driving without proper control if their pet distracts them.
That could be stepped up to failing to drive with due care and attention which carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and nine penalty points if the case goes to court.
To avoid a fine, pets should be properly secured in a seat belt harness, carrier, cage or guard.
2. Night time parking – up to £1,000 fine
Park facing away from the direction of traffic at night time and you could land yourself with a fine of up to £1,000.
The exception is if you’re using a designated parking bay.
Rule 248 of the Highway Code states that at night “a car must not be parked at the side of the road facing against the direction of traffic”.
3. Dirty number plates – up to £1,000 fine
Police have the power to fine drivers up to £1,000 if they’re caught on the roads with a dirty number plate.
This is particularly a problem during bad weather, as rain water and mud from the roads can cause number plates to get mucky.
Number plates let the owner and the police know when and where the vehicle is registered.
4. Warning others of speed traps – up to £1,000 fine
It may come from a place of courtesy, but warning other road users about police speed traps by flashing your lights could see you fined £1,000.
As part of the Highway Code, drivers are instructed to use their headlights “only to let other road users know that you are there” and not to attempt “to convey any other message”.
If drivers are warning others about a police speed trap, they could be in breach of section 89 of the Police Act 1997.
This law states that it’s an offence to “wilfully obstruct a constable in the execution of his/her duty”.
As well as flashing your lights to warn other drivers, this could also apply if you post the location of a police speed trap on social media.
5. Using your phone in the car – up to £1,000 fine
If you’re caught using your mobile phone while driving – so making a call or texting – you risk fines of up to £1,000.
Fines start from £200 and six penalty points on your licence, but this can escalate to £1,000 and disqualification if your case goes to court.
Drivers could soon also face fines for just TOUCHING their phones in the car – including playing games, taking photos or scrolling through a playlist – under new rules expected to come into force this year.
Using a hands-free device in your car is fine as long you don’t need to touch the screen.
6. Leaving your engine running – up to £80 fine
Leaving your engine running – even for just 10 minutes – could see you fined £80.
According to Rule 123 of the Highway Code, you “must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road”.
Letting a car idle for just 10 minutes creates 1,520m³ of excess exhaust fumes.
7. Driving with frosted windows – up to £60 fine
Snow has hit parts of the UK in recent weeks, so make sure you’re not driving with frosted windows.
The fine for doing this can be up to £60.
According to the Highway Code, you must be able to see clearly before you set off – this means all snow and ice should be cleared from your windows.
Lights and number plates should be clean and visible too, and windows must be demisted thoroughly so your vision isn’t obscured.
Looking to save money on your car insurance? Martin Lewis has explained how to knock hundreds of pounds off your bill.
You could also save on your car insurance through other ways too, such as applying for a refund due to coronavirus.
It comes after thousands of AA customers overcharged for breakdown cover.