Traffic offences you may have committed without realising
Dirty Number Plate
If you drive with a dirty number plate you could be fined up to £1,000. If your number plate cannot be read, you are committing an offence under the Road Vehicles Regulations 2001. The same applies if your number plate light isn’t working and you’re driving at night, or if the numbers and letters on the plate aren’t the correct size and font. It’s also illegal to have any images on a number plate, apart from approved ones such as flags signifying country of origin.
Splashing Pedestrians in Puddles
We’ve probably all been tempted but if you deliberately drive through a puddle to splash a pedestrian you could be fined up to £5,000 for not showing “reasonable consideration” to other road users. This type of offence is usually dealt with by a £100 fixed penalty notice — the upper limit would only ever be used if the offence was contested, and subsequently lost, in court.
Having Snow on Your Car
If you don’t clear snow from your car roof you could slide into a £60 fine and three penalty points. It’s not actually against the law to drive with snow on the roof, but if it slides off and obscures your windscreen or falls off the back and lands on another vehicle, you could be charged with driving without due consideration or driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.
Obstructing Emergency Vehicles
If you willfully obstruct police, fire or ambulance vehicles on their way to emergencies you can be fined up to £5,000. However, when you get out of their way, do so with care. If you go through a red light or pull into an active bus lane to facilitate their progress, you’ll probably be fined. The only occasion you can break the law to get out of the way is if you are instructed to do so by the police.
If you carry an unsecured pet in the car it constitutes “distracted driving” and you could be fined up to £5,000 in court though, once again, it usually earns a £100 fixed penalty notice.
Warning Others of Speed Cameras
You might think it’s good driving etiquette to flash oncoming motorists to warn they are approaching a temporary speed camera, but that’s an offence too and it comes with a fine of up to £1,000. It is regarded as obstructing the police in the course of their duties.
We all know phones are banned behind the wheel but you can also be fined if you use an unsecured sat-nav. If you’re caught using a sat-nav that’s not in a proper holder, you could be subjected to a £200 fine and six penalty points — £1,000 if it goes to court.
Tooting Car Horn
It’s illegal to toot your car’s horn when you’re stationary in traffic unless you’re alerting another road user to a danger. It’s also an offence to sound the horn on a road with street lights and a 30mph limit between 11.30pm and 7am. This indiscretion could cost you £1,000.
There are obviously many more rules of the road that could catch you out. So why not have a read of the highway code once in a while and keep up to date with any changes or amendments that are made. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Once the police see you commit an offence and pull you over you may not be able to talk your self out of it!