Ask a group of drivers to name a bunch of bad habits on the roads and most would probably cite the same road safety violations. Driving too fast, running red lights, parking on double yellow lines and so on – all well-known (and fairly obvious) ways to get yourself in trouble.
Elsewhere, there are other road safety violations that tend to go overlooked or ignored by most. Or at least, misinterpreted as nowhere near as serious as they are in fact are.
Unfortunately, pleading ignorance or playing dumb when busted for a road safety violation does not work. Irrespective of whether or not you knew you were in the wrong, you could still be lumped with a heavy penalty.
Not to mention, a liberal sprinkling of penalty points to drive your insurance premiums through the roof.
With this in mind, here is a brief rundown of five unexpected ways to earn a heavy fine, with the added bonus of penalty points in some instances:
1. Unsafe Handbrake – £2,500
Minor handbrake issues tend to be overlooked and ignored until they become seriously problematic. From a road safety perspective, even the slightest handbrake problems can have a major impact on the roadworthiness of your vehicle.
Not only can an unsafe handbrake land you a fine of up to £2,500, but it can also completely invalidate your insurance policy. If an accident is the result of your handbrake not working properly, it could land you in a whole world of trouble.
2. Throwing a Cigarette Out of the Window – £100
This should be a no brainer, given how littering is prohibited in general. As it stands, smoking while driving is not yet illegal…even though it should be. But if you are stupid enough to throw your cigarette butts out of the window, you could be slapped with an immediate fine of £100.
It is also a fairly disgraceful habit and something no self-respecting motorist would do, so don’t do it!
3. Dirty Number Plate – £1,000
It is the responsibility of every driver to ensure their vehicle is in an appropriate state of repair, prior to taking to public roads. This includes anything that could contravene the rules and regulations of the Highway Code, including lights, indicators and number plates obscured by excess dirt.
Ensuring your number plate is clearly legible from an appropriate distance is a legal requirement. This includes dirt and debris that may accumulate on your number plate during a journey, if conditions are particularly grim. Hence, both during and after journeys on dirty roads, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on your number plates (and lights) and ensure they are not caked in muck.
4. Stopping in the Box for Cyclists – £100 + 3 penalty points The reserved space for cyclists at many sets of traffic lights is all too easy to accidentally creep into. More often than not, it is a case of having been driving a little too quickly to slow down in time, resulting in the front of your car poking beyond the Advanced Stop Lines (ASL). A common and minor mistake it may be, but it could also pave the way for a £100 fine plus three penalty points; driving at a sensible speed when approaching traffic lights is the best way to avoid issues like these and is a general good practice for safe driving in general