Sunnier and warmer weather has finally arrived. But with such weather, drivers risk breaking driving laws that many of us won’t be aware of.
Moneyshake has taken a look at the driving laws you’re probably breaking without even realizing it during a heat wave, which could leave you with a nasty fine or even points on your license.
Eben Lovatt, CEO of Moneyshake, said: “Drivers planning trips with bikes and luggage should be careful not to overload their car or cover their license plate or they could be fined up to go up to £2,500.
“While some offenses seem unlikely to result in a fine, it is still very possible that you will be penalized for not following the rules of the road in hot weather.
“We recommend that you don’t take any risks, because heat waves are for enjoying, not for losing your licence.”
Here’s Moneyshakes’ list of the 8 UK driving laws we all unknowingly break during a heatwave
1) Free a dog from a hot car
Maximum penalty: 10 years in prison
We all know that under no circumstances should you leave your pet in a hot car. But what if you see a dog suffering from the heat wave? Do you have the right to break the window and free it?
If you can’t justify breaking into the car, it could be considered criminal damage. The Crown Prosecution Service says destroying or damaging someone else’s property can get you up to 10 years in jail.
If an animal is in pain in a hot car, dial 999 and the police will give you advice on what to do.
2) Wear sunglasses – or not
Maximum penalty: a ban, 3-9 points and an unlimited fine
Everyday sunglasses may be too dark for driving, according to the AA. Some sunglasses can also affect your eyesight because the rim of the frame blocks your peripheral vision. If your sunglasses are not suitable for driving, you could be penalized for reckless and inconsiderate driving.
On the other hand, the rules of the road say that you must stop if ever you are “dazzled by a radiant sun”. If you don’t wear the right sunglasses that keep you safe from being dazzled, you could be fined for reckless driving.
3) Contactless payment at the drive
Maximum penalty: a ban, 3 points and a £1,000 fine
With more drive-thru reopening, drivers are being encouraged to use contactless payments. But if you use Google Pay and Apple Pay at the drive-thru counter, you could be penalized for using your cell phone while driving.
4) Do not turn on AC power or open a window
Maximum penalty: 2 years in prison, 3-11 points and an unlimited fine
Highway Traffic Act Rule 237 states that you must keep your vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness. Driving while fatigued is not an offense, but the AA says it can significantly increase your chances of driving dangerously, which can result in a serious penalty.
Recently, we recorded the temperature inside a car reaching 33°C, which is hotter than the average summer in Mexico!
5) Medicines for hay fever
Maximum penalty: 6 months in prison, 3-11 points and an unlimited fine
A 2018 study found that 60% of hay fever sufferers admit to taking medication before driving. But hay fever medications can cause drowsiness and blurred vision, which would make you unfit to drive.
A new 2015 Highway Traffic Act rule (Rule 96) states that you must not drive under the influence of drugs or medication.
6) Bring your bike
Maximum penalty: £1,000 fine
Rear-mounted bike racks are a cost-effective and convenient option for taking your bike on a trip. But these brackets can cover your license plates, which will give you a hefty fine and your car will fail its MOT.
If you ride with a rear-mounted bike rack, consider a light panel to clearly display your license plate, reflectors, and lights.
7) Overload the car
Maximum penalty: 3 points and £2,500 fine
Thinking of putting your camping gear in the trunk or towing your family caravan? Be careful not to overload the car.
Rule 98 of the highway code stipulates that you should not overload your vehicle with a weight greater than the manufacturer’s recommendation. You could receive a penalty for operating your vehicle in unsafe conditions.
8) Driving on a wet road after a summer shower
Maximum penalty: 2 years in prison, a ban, 3-11 points and an unlimited fine
According to the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), paved roads can “bleed” through the surface in hot weather after rain, reducing skid resistance and making the road more slippery.
Thanks to the unpredictable UK weather, you might find yourself driving through a heat wave after a sudden downpour. Drivers should be careful – if you cause an accident on a slippery road, you could be fined for dangerous driving.