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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Abbie Meehan

Drivers warned they could be fined up to £2,500 for winter driving mistake

As the colder weather sets in, Scottish drivers are urged to be more careful on the roads, as the nights get darker and driving gets inherently more dangerous.

However, there are certain mistakes drivers could be making which are actually against the law. Car experts at elmo have revealed the fines which drivers need to know about this winter.

Read on below to find out if you are actually breaking the law on the road this winter, and how to solve it.

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Driving a car that weighs too much

A Category B driving licence allows you to drive vehicles up to 3,500kg, but if your vehicle is already heavy, you can easily exceed this limit with additional passengers and luggage.

Electric vehicles tend to be heavier than equivalent ICE model as the battery is much heavier than a fuel tank. A recent study by Inside EVs revealed that “a third of the EVs tested weigh more than 2,000 kg”, with the top three coming in at 3,000kg, 2,720kg and 2,620 respectively - making it easy to exceed the weight limit without realising.

The penalty for a car that's too heavy is £300 and three points on your licence - not worth the extra suitcase in any way.

Low tyre pressure

Tyres with the correct pressure level also mean you will use less fuel and will stop the tyres from wearing out as quickly. Tyres should last around 20,000 miles before they need to be checked to see if they have been worn down.

Having tyres which don’t meet standards can invalidate your insurance, which can land you a hefty fine. The fine limit does not exist, and you could get up to eight points on your licence for breaking this rule.

Leaving your engine running while defrosting the car

According to rule 123 of the Highway Code and regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Constructions and Use) Regulations 1986, motorists must not leave their engine running while defrosting their car. This rule doesn’t apply to those who have their own driveway.

Rule 123 states: "You must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.

"Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.

"However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults."

The fine for this is just £20, however it can increase to £40 if the engine is not switched off.

Careless driving

According to rule 126 of the Highway Code, tailgating is an offence and can be punishable by the police. Tailgating is especially dangerous in winter months as stopping times can be longer than expected due to poor road conditions.

Rule 126 states: "Tailgating is where the gap between you and the vehicle in front is too small for you to be able to stop safely if the vehicle in front suddenly brakes.

"Tailgating is dangerous, intimidating and can cause collisions, especially when driving at speed. Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front gives you time to react and stop if necessary.

"Dangerous and careless driving offences, such as tailgating, are enforced by the police."

The fine for this offence is £100, and a whopping three points on your licence.

Not defrosting the windows correctly

According to the Highway Code, failure to have proper control of the vehicle or full view of the road and traffic ahead is an offence.

This means you need to fully defrost your windscreen before setting off although it can be tempting to just defrost a small section so you can see out - especially if you are in a rush.

This offence carries a heavy fine of £1,000 - £2,500 for PCV or goods vehicles - a discretionary disqualification, and three points on your licence.


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