Driving in Winter – Some basic points before you set off

As the weather seems to be taking a turn a worse extra care is needed when driving in snow or ice.  It is not illegal as such to drive with snow on your car, but you could fall foul of the Highway Code and the Road Traffic Act 1988 if you do. Rule 229 of the Highway Code states before you set off:

  • you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
  • you MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
  • remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
  • check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.

Also, the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it a legal requirement to have ‘a full view of the road and traffic ahead of the road ahead’ before you set off.  If you cannot see out of your windows and mirrors or snow on your roof falls off onto your windscreen while driving or flies into the path of another car then you could be penalised by the Police for motoring offences such as ‘driving without due consideration’ or ‘using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition’. If your inability to see and or snow from your vehicle caused an accident, then your failure to comply with the Highway Code could also be used as evidence against you for negligence in a claim for personal injury compensation.

So even if you’re popping around the corner to the shops if you do not thoroughly clean your car, car windscreen, other windows and wing mirrors of snow, ice or condensation – including lights and anything that could fall off into the path of another motorists – you’re potentially breaking the law and leaving yourself liable to a run in with the police, or your insurance company if you have an accident.

It is just not worth it so to avoid a brush with the law please make sure you use a soft broom etc. to fully wipe off snow from your roof, bonnet or frost from every window (a quick once over with a credit card just won’t do!). Use a proper scraper and de-icer and if you want tips on how to safely and quickly clear your car windows, head over to the RAC’s website and check out How to demist your windscreen in double-quick time.

We hope you won’t be involved in accident, but if you are contact our personal injury experts at Beecham Peacock who are recognised as ‘incredibly professional’, ‘outstanding’ and ‘brilliant’ for its serious injury, occupational disease and medical negligence expertise.

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