THE snow may look magical, but trying to get anywhere in the white stuff can prove a nightmare for motorists.
If you have to drive at all, check out this list to avoid violating your insurance – or getting slapped with a fine.
Defrosting your car – the lazy way
Nipping out to switch your engine on early may seem like a clever way to make your car comfy and defrost the windscreen.
But you can invalidate your insurance if you leave the motor running unattended.
That is because most brokers will refuse to pay out if drivers fail to live up to their “duty of care” — a common clause in contracts.
Michael Lloyd, the AA’s insurance director, said: “Every winter we get reports of members’ cars that have disappeared off drives. The fact is that the keys are the weakest link in the car security chain and leaving your car unattended, unlocked and with the keys in in it is simply inviting it to be stolen.
“If it is ticking over, warming up, it makes the thief’s job very easy.
“Every insurance policy carries with it a ‘duty of care’ which means that you should take reasonable steps to protect your property and not do anything that could avoidably lead to loss or damage.
“And leaving your car with the engine running falls squarely into that category.
“No insurance company will meet a claim where you have left your car open to be stolen.”
Driving with snow still on the roof
While having snow on your roof is not prohibited it could land you in deep drift with the law.
Should clumps fall onto your windscreen or onto another car you could be penalised for driving without “due consideration”.
More seriously, you could be considered to be using a motor vehicle “in a dangerous condition”.
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Each offence can lead to a fine and a criminal record.
The RAC says: “Even if you’re only making a two-minute journey, by not thoroughly cleaning your car of snow, ice or condensation… you’re breaking the law and leaving yourself liable to a run in with the police.”
Not cleaning every window or your lights
Every glass panel used to see from and even your head and tail lights need to be scrubbed of ice and condensation to ensure you are within the law.
The RAC adds: “The Highway Code stipulates that if driving in adverse weather conditions you must, by law, be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle.
“This is supported by the section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988, meaning it is a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead before you set off.
“Failure to do so could incur a fine, but more importantly could place your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives of those around you in danger.
“This also means ensuring your windscreen is de-iced on the outside and thoroughly demisted on the inside.”
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Not de-icing your license plate
Even your licence plate needs to be free of ice and snow.
Drivers could be accused of purposely trying to avoid the detection of speed cameras by keeping them covered over.
The RAC explains: “In addition, it is also the law that all lights and number plates are clearly visible too.”
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