Adverse weather – Driving penalties
Even though most drivers know about clearing snow and ice from their windscreen, many are unaware of the potential to be penalised even if the covering has no impact on their vision.
Section 229 of the Highway Code outlines guidelines for driving in adverse weather conditions. It states that:
1. You must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all windows
2. Before you set off remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
If you are caught with snow still on your car, or if an officer sees it fall on to the road from your vehicle you could be given a fine of £60 and have three penalty points added to your license.
Harsher penalties can be imposed if snow falls from your car onto another vehicle. In those circumstances the police could consider a charge of with driving without reasonable consideration to other road users.
This is under section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which is committed when other road users are inconvenienced by the manner of the defendants driving.
In more serious cases the police could also consider a charge of driving without due care and attention, often referred to as ‘careless driving.’ This offence, again falling under section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, is committed when the defendants driving falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver.
‘Careless driving’ could also be committed in circumstances where the driver fails to take into account the driving conditions. For example, simply because a road has a certain speed limit, the driver must take into account snow and ice and slow down as appropriate.
If convicted of either of these offences, the court can impose an unlimited fine, impose between 3 and 9 penalty points and may impose a disqualification from driving.
Those with any penalty points on their licence also run of the risk of accruing 12 penalty points in a 3 year period. This would mean facing a disqualification from driving for a minimum of 6 months.
We therefore advise our clients to be alive to these issues when driving in adverse weather. If you are facing potential prosecution for any of the above or wish to discuss any aspect further, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org