Winter is here and lots of people up and down the country will be hoping for snow to fall.
The snow can be great fun but it can also be hazardous. So, what should you do when you wake up in the morning and open your curtains to see snow everywhere? Especially all over your car and you have to get to work, do the school run or pop to the shops?
Most people will simply remove the snow from the windscreen, get into their car and drive to their destination. The snow remains on the bonnet, the lights, the roof, the boot and anywhere else on the car it can stick itself to. This has resulted in a number of road traffic accidents causing personal injury due to people not being able to see out of their windscreens properly and snow falling from cars.
What the Law Says
The Highway Code Rule 229 states that, 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.
Further guidance is provided by Highway Code Rule 228 which stipulates that, in winter, you should always check your local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather and you must not drive in these conditions unless your journey is essential.
If you really do have to make the journey, allow more time and take an emergency kit of de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food just in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.
If you do not follow the Highway Code then driving with snow on your car roof could land you with a £60 fine and three points on your licence, if the snow on your car was a contributing factor to the cause of your accident.
The key is preparation and allowing additional time to complete your journey if it is necessary for you to travel in adverse weather conditions.
Please make sure you following the guidance above and be safe when travelling on the roads this winter.
Gurdeep Chayra is a senior associate at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Birmingham.
For a free consultation about making a road traffic accident compensation claim, call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.