Drivers who fail to properly clear snow from their vehicles could face fines and penalty points on their licence as police crack down on winter motorists.
A recent survey by Halfords has revealed that almost one in five drivers fail to properly clear snow from their vehicles before setting out. That equates to nearly six million motorists in the UK driving illegally.
Police warn the fixed penalty for driving with an obscured windscreen is three points and a £60 fine, but the consequences can be far greater if snow from your car is deemed to have been a factor in an accident. Rule 229 of the Highway Code states:
Before you set off you must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows.
You must ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible, make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly.
Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users.
Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.
Halfords winter motoring expert Alan Rennie said: "Driving with snow on your car roof could land you with a £60 fine and three points on your licence. It could be even worse if you are involved in an accident because of snow falling off your car - if police chose to prosecute for careless or inconsiderate driving."
The study also revealed that an overnight flurry of snowfall on an average sized car could add around 35kg to the overall kerb weight. This could cut fuel efficiency by 2% if people drive off without removing it. Nationally this means drivers could be wasting £110,000 by burning extra fuel every time it snows, Halfords experts calculate.
Rennie added: "We know it will cost motorists money to carry that extra icy weight around with them. Our research should give all drivers that extra incentive to remove the snow from most parts of their car, not just the windows, before they set off. It's very simple to use a snow brush and clear the roof."