The festive season is here and up and down the country many of us will be looking to get into the spirit of things by decorating our vehicles or dressing up ourselves. Whilst this isn’t illegal, doing so incorrectly can land you with a hefty fine.
Knowing what you can and can’t do in relation to dressing up yourself or your car whilst behind the wheel is important to avoid a blue Christmas of being fined and possibly banned from driving. To avoid any unfortunate incidents, comparison website Compare the market has compiled some of the top offences to avoid this Chrstmas.
Other points they warn of is not to wear fancy dress costumes that could restrict you when driving. This includes plump Santa Claus bellies or pointy elf shoes.
Below is a range of driving offences that can lead to punishments ranging from points on your licence to large fines.
Drivers could face £1,000 fine if decorations block windows, mirrors or number plates
Drivers may be tempted to put stickers, lights, or even reindeer antlers on their car, but this could land them with fines of up to £1,000 and three points on their licence by obscuring the vision of the driver. Decorations must also not obstruct the view of the vehicle’s number plate, and if done, motorists could be fined £1,000.
Drivers are advised to keep lights to the Christmas tree, and not their car
If lights of certain colours are visible from the outside of a vehicle, drivers are at risk of receiving a £50 non-endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice. This is because it is an offence to have a red light at the front of a vehicle, a white light at the rear -unless reversing - and green lights fitted to vehicles that aren’t medical practitioners.
Christmas costumes cannot get in the way of controls or seatbelts
Drivers are warned to think twice if they’re planning to dress up this Christmas, as any accessories that prevent drivers from using controls of the vehicle - such as plump Santa bellies, or pointy elf shoes- could lead to fines of up to £5,000 and up to nine penalty points if the charge was taken to court.
Plus, any costume that prevents a seatbelt being fastened properly could put a driver – or any passengers wearing costumes – at risk of receiving a £500 fine. It is therefore advised to remove any items of clothing that prevents or affects the usage of a seatbelt, in order to keep all road users safe.
Don’t be distracted by Christmas music
Although it’s tempting to carol in the car, safe driving requires concentration, and a vehicle needs to be free of distractions. Rule 148 of the Highway Code states loud music should be avoided to allow for concentration, and drivers in violation of this rule could be deemed to be driving without due care and attention, and therefore faced with unlimited fines and up to nine penalty points.
This doesn’t mean drivers can’t listen to festive tunes though, they just need to be conscious of the volume, and ensure they are selecting their music responsibly. Using a hand-held device while driving can lead to a £200 fine and six penalty points.
Julie Daniels from the car insurance team at Comparethemarket said: “Christmas is a magical time of the year for many, making it easy to get into the festive spirit. But it’s important to continue to uphold the laws of the road, otherwise motorists are putting themselves and other road users at risk – as well as facing the risk of receiving unwanted fines and penalty points.
If you want to add decorations to your car this Christmas, there are plenty of safe ways to do it. Stickers can be placed on your vehicle doors, as long as they’re not blocking any windows or mirrors. You can also attach antlers or a Santa hat to your roof using door clips (but be sure they are very secure and are not at risk of being blown off). By following the rules outlined in the Highway Code, you’ll be able to enjoy the festive season safely, and in style.”