Lesser Known Ways You Could Receive Penalty Points On Your Licence
We all know talking on our mobile phone while driving or speeding will earn us a fine and possible points on our licence. Hogging the middle lane was recently highlighted as a no no after the first conviction for this offence committed in 2014 earnt the driver a £940 fine and 5 penalty points on his licence. But, there are many other naughty driving habits that could see you increase your penalty point total that you may never have known about.
Unreadable number plates – when it’s cold, miserable and dark outside none of us relish the thought of getting a bucket of soapy water and washing the car, but a few uncomfortable minutes could save you more trouble out on the road. It is an offence to drive in a car if the number plate cannot easily be read and could cost you up to £1000. If you can’t brave the weather to scrub the number plates yourself the car wash is a much cheaper option.
Poor Parking – parking can strike fear into the hearts of many drivers due to the pure embarrassment of getting it wrong in front of a queue of impatient drivers. There is another reason to fear parking. If you have parked in a way that obstructs the road, pavement or anywhere else deemed inappropriate such asnear the brow of a hill or on a bend you could be charged with leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position. According to the Highway Code rule 242 you ‘must not leave your vehicle in a dangerous position or where it causes unnecessary obstruction of the road’.
Splashing a pedestrian – section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 specifies it is an offence to ‘drive without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road’. This includes driving through a puddle on the road that could cause a pedestrian to be splashed. 63 such incidents were reported from 2009-2014, so no matter how tempted you are to watch that rain water slosh – slow down to avoid those points.
Flashing your lights – According to the Highway Code you should ‘only flash your headlights to let other drivers know you are there’. Drivers mistakenly believe they are being helpful by flashing lights to let people out of junctions and to let other drivers know there is a speed trap around the corner. In reality you are risking a fine and possible points. In 2012 Lancashire police fined 20 drivers who flashed their headlight to warn other drivers they were performing speed checks.
Driving too slowly – you would think police officers would be pleased to hear drivers are travelling below the speed limit, but not always. If another driver on the road is inconvenienced by your snail like progress it could be classed as inconsiderate driving. 143 accidents a year are thought to be caused by this and you could end up with points on your licence.
Missing your optician’s appointment – when was the last time you had your eyes checked? If you are a driver it is vital you keep up to date with your sight checks. If eyesight is found to be a factor causing careless driving you could face a fine of up to £1000 and 3 penalty points on your licence … an eye test is a much cheaper option!
Driving too close to a cyclist – no matter whether you think cyclists and horses should be on the road or not, as a driver you owe them the courtesy of passing safely. The Highway Code states that cyclists, motorcyclists and horses should have ‘at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car’. It is quite an ambiguous statement; how much room is enough room? West Midlands Police offered a measurement of 1.5m in a crackdown this year. Any driver not allowing at least 1.5m when overtaking risked a prosecution and points on their licence.
Eating at the wheel – anything that means your hands leave the steering wheel could lead you to be guilty of driving without due care or attention. Finishing that sausage roll on the way to work could cost you a £1000 and penalty points on your licence.
Lastly, if you are a little camera shy and put off updating your photocard licence, it’s time to get selfie happy! Failing to update your licence, will result in it being revoked. If you continue to drive in this instance you will be committing a criminal offence and could end up with a fine of £1000.
How you ever ended up with points on your licence for a bizarre reason?
The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.
18 October 2016
Written by Natalie Faughy