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As we approach the festive season, driving is inevitable for many as they go about their Christmas shopping or get to and from winter celebrations. However, car lease comparison site Moneyshake has warned of five laws drivers may be breaking this festive season that could land them with a fine, points on the license, or even a ban. And one of them includes wearing Christmas clothing.
The festive period brings out fun items of clothing such as Santa outfits, sparkly clothing and jumpers with flashing lights.
However, Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that drivers “should ensure clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”.
This means that driving in any piece of clothing that impairs the driver’s vision or prevents them from using the controls of the car could be classed as driving without due care and attention.
Failure to have proper control of a vehicle could lead to a £100 on-the-spot fine, three penalty points on the licence and in more serious cases drivers could receive a fine of up to £5,000 and disqualification.
Motorists should make sure their outfits do not impact their driving ability and if it does, they should take the outfit to the venue and then get changed there.
Transporting a Christmas tree
While it’s not illegal to transport a Christmas tree using a car, there are precautions that must be taken to avoid overloading a vehicle.
Rule 98 of The Highway Code states: “You must secure your load and it must not stick out dangerously. Make sure any heavy or sharp objects are secured safely.”
On top of that, if a tree’s distribution, weight, position or the way it is secured on the car is unsuitable then it can lead to a vehicle being classed as being in a dangerous condition under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
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Any drivers found to be in breach of the rules could face three points on their license or a fine of up to £2,500.
Listening to loud Christmas music whilst driving
Rule 148 of The Highway Code states that drivers should “avoid distractions when driving such as loud music”.
If festive tunes obstruct drivers from hearing potential hazards, this could put others at risk, and land the motorists with a “driving without due care and attention” or “dangerous driving” charge.
The penalties can be severe, with a fine of up to £5,000, nine points on the licence and even a driving ban in the most serious of circumstances.
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Decorating the car for Christmas
Whilst Christmas car decorations may add some festive cheer, lights, reindeer antlers, ribbons and tinsel should all be avoided on the inside and outside of the vehicle.
If any decorations obstruct the driver’s view it could lead to three points on the licence and up to £1,000 in fines.
And, if any decorations were to detach from the car, they could pose a risk to others on the road.
If this was to happen, drivers could face a charge of “careless driving” and land a fixed £100 penalty and three points on their licence.
In more serious cases, motorists risk nine points on their licence and a £5,000 fine – or they may be disqualified from driving altogether.
Sleeping in the car while drunk
After a Christmas party, drivers may be tempted to have a nap in their car. Whilst it’s not breaking the law to sleep in a car, it is illegal to be under the influence in it.
If caught sleeping whilst over the alcohol limit, even with the engine switched off, drivers could be prosecuted for being “drunk in charge of a motor vehicle”.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, a motorist can be found guilty if they are “in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit”.
If drivers are caught in a vehicle while above the legal limit, they could face a maximum fine of £2,500. They could also end up being disqualified from driving and in more serious cases, face up to three months imprisonment.
Eben Lovatt, CEO of Moneyshake, said: “This time of year is for celebrations. Drivers should be careful over the festive period to drive safely with care and attention, avoid distractions and not overload their car. Whilst it may seem unlikely you may receive a fine, it is still possible you could be penalised, so we recommend that you don’t take the risk.
“The festive period is for having fun with family and friends, not for getting in trouble and potentially losing your license or causing harm.”
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