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Unusual driving offences – what are they and how much could you be fined?

Did you know you could be fined £60 and get three penalty points for driving a car covered in snow? Find out more about this and other little-known driving offences...

1 Mar 2018 11:30

Unusual driving offences – what are they and how much could you be fined?

Images of obscure motoring offences

Some motoring offences are obvious, such as speeding and running red traffic lights, but there are quite a few other ways to break the law inadvertently break in your car.

Read our round-up of the 10 most obscure driving offences that you could commit without meaning to. It's important to bear them in mind because falling foul of them could get you a £5000 fine and up to six penalty points on your licence.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Leaving snow on car roof

1. Leaving snow on your car’s roof – fine of £60 and three penalty points

Although it’s not against the law to drive with snow on the roof of your car, if it slides forward and obscures your windscreen or falls off the back and lands on another vehicle, you could be charged with driving without due consideration or driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

The penalty for this is £60 and three points.

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Top 10 unusual driving offences

Car with mud-covered numberplate

2. Dirty numberplate – fine of up to £1000

If you let your car get so dirty, or covered in snow, that the numberplate can’t be read, you’re committing an offence under the Road Vehicles Regulations 2001.

Your car will also fall foul of this law if your numberplate light isn’t working and you’re driving at night, or if the numbers and letters on the plate aren’t the correct size and font. It’s also illegal to have any images on a numberplate, apart from approved ones such as flags.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Ambulance

3. Obstructing emergency services – fine of up to £5000

If you willfully impede the progress of an ambulance or fire engine that’s on it’s way to an emergency you risk being issued with a fine.

However, that doesn’t mean you can take whatever measures you think necessary to get out of their way – if you go through a red traffic light or drive into an active bus lane, you’re likely to get landed with a fine for these minor traffic offences.

The only time you can break the law to get out of he way of the emergency services is when you’re instructed to do so by a police officer.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Car splashing pedestrian

4. Splashing pedestrians – fine of up to £5000

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 it’s an offence to drive without reasonable consideration for other road users.

However, this type of irresponsible behaviour is usually dealt with by a £100 fixed penalty notice; the larger fine would only be issued if a case went to court.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Dog in car

5. Driving with pets – fine of up to £5000

It’s dangerous and illegal to transport an unsecured pet, such as a cat or dog, in your car because it could be construed as ‘distracted driving’.

Although this would usually only attract a £100 fixed penalty fine and three penalty points, a court could increase this to £5000 and nine penalty points.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Speed trap warning sign

6. Flashing headlights to warn other drivers – a fine of up to £1000

Alerting oncoming drivers that they’re approaching a temporary speed trap could land you with a fine of £1000 because it’s classed as obstructing the police.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Glasses on a table

7. Driving without glasses – fine of up to £1000 and six penalty points

There are information codes on the back of driving licences that show the restrictions on the vehicles people can drive and if they are required to follow any other rules, such as wearing glasses to drive.

If you have this noted on your licence and you’re caught not wearing glasses you could get a £100 fixed penalty fine or if the case goes to court this could increase to £1000 and up to six penalty points.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Using an unsecured sat nav

8. Using an unsecured sat-nav – fine of up to £1000

The punishments for using a handheld mobile phone while at the wheel of a car also applies to the use of an unsecured sat-nav.

If you’re caught using your phone or a sat-nav that’s not in a proper holder to follow directions, you could be subjected to a £200 fine and six penalty points. If the case goes to court the fine could rise to £1000.

Mount your phone or sat-nav carefully, though, because you could get three penalty points if you don’t have full view of the road ahead.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Man honking his car's horn in anger

9. Sounding your horn – fine of up to £1000

It’s illegal to hoot your car’s horn when you're stationary in traffic unless you’re alerting another road user to a danger.

It’s also an offence to sound the horn on a road with street lights and a 30mph limit between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am.

Top 10 unusual driving offences

Driving licence

10. Not updating your address – fine of up to £1000

Don’t overlook updating the details on your driving licence or you risk being fined £1000 because the licence is invalid if it doesn’t show your correct name and address.

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