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Keep Your Car Clean: Legal Requirements

Car owners across the UK pride themselves on the appearance of their cars. From washing and polishing the exterior to hoovering and sanitising the interior, they do all this to get every nook and cranny as clean as possible. While keeping the car clean is something that car owners strive to do, sometimes life gets in the way and cleaning is pushed back on the to-do list.


We all know someone whose car is quite messy. But do you know someone who was fined for having an extremely messy car? In case you didn’t know, you could be fined for leaving your car in a mess—including the number plate and windscreen.


In this post, we’ll look at the consequences if you fail to keep your car clean.

The Deal with Not Keeping a Car Clean

One driver took his car too far in South Buckinghamshire and was pulled over after police officers noticed that his car was a complete mess. Upon inspection, the officers found that the foot-wells were filled with stubbed cigarettes, takeaway wrappers, and salad scraps all piled up to the knee level. The driver was then given a fine and points on their licence.


While there’s no specific law in the UK against driving a messy car, having an illegible number plate puts you at risk of getting fined a hefty amount ranging from £1,000-£5,000. Under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act of 1994, obscuring or allowing a registration mark to be not easily distinguishable is a specific offence. You are to display your car’s registration mark at all times lest you will be given a fine by the authorities.


Driving with a Dirty Registration Plate Is Illegal

One in 20 drivers in the UK doesn’t know that driving with a dirty registration mark is illegal. That is equivalent to two million. Surprisingly, about 5% of drivers in the country admit that this is something they have done.


Having a dirty car is not the only thing that could land drivers in hot water. They’re also at risk of getting fined if they drive with a dirty windscreen, which could lead to an accident if their view is compromised down the road. To avoid getting penalty points and a fine of £1,000, it pays to clean your car regularly.


Driving Offences That Are Illegal

We’ve gathered a list of driving offences that you may or may not have known were illegal. You may consider yourself a law-abiding citizen when driving on the road thinking that you can do nothing wrong, but you might be breaking the law on your daily drives.


Below is the official highway code for rules and regulations on the road.


1. Driving with snow on the roof

Having snow on your car’s roof is not classed as illegal per se. However, snow on a car’s roof can sometimes slide off and hit other car’s windscreens, causing them to crack. This could lead to a nasty accident, and you could be charged with “driving without due care and attention.”


2. Driving without MOT

As you may already know, you need a full driver’s license to drive legally on the roads. Your vehicle should pass its MOT for it to be considered road-legal. Without MOT, you could either get fined or be banned on the roads.


To avoid these consequences, make sure to get your vehicle’s annual MOT done. You can take it to a garage or MOT centre to have it checked.


3. Driving in the middle lane

As per Rule 264 of the Highway Code, you should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear, not in the middle lane of the motorway. Breaking this rule could land you a £100 fine and three penalty points.


Legal Requirements: What You Should Know

Police officers are cracking down motorists who are driving cars with dirty or obstructed registration plates. As a car owner, you have to always keep in mind that registration plates are important as they let the authorities know when and where the vehicle is registered. You don’t want to leave your registration plate looking so dirty and hard to read and risk paying a fine.

There are legal requirements to remind motorists in the UK to check their registration plates regularly. Take note of these requirements to avoid penalties:

⦁ Registration plates should be made from reflective material.
⦁ They should not have a background pattern.
⦁ The front should display black characters on a white background.
⦁ As for the rear, black characters should be displayed on a yellow background.
⦁ Registration plates in motorcycles must be displayed at the rear.
⦁ For motorcycles registered after September 1, 2001, two-line number plates are a standard.
⦁ Motorcycles registered on or after September 1 can display the registration plate on the front (but this is not essential).
⦁ Regardless of the date of registration, motorcycles are not permitted by law to display a one-line plate.


Other Reminders

Apart from the legal requirements mentioned above, it pays to know these reminders as well:

⦁ Using your mobile while driving, or whilst in the car with the engine on, is illegal.
⦁ Don’t leave a parked car with the engine running as it is also illegal.
⦁ You may be fined if you touch your phone while using the sat-nav.
⦁ Avoid throwing rubbish out of the window as you could also get fined if you do so.
⦁ Smoking in a car with someone aged below 18 is illegal.


Get Your Car Professionally Cleaned

Have your vehicle cleaned, polished, and waxed to give it a showroom look and ensure it meets all legal requirements concerning number plates and windscreens. For professional valeting services, let Andy’s Car Valeting help you out.


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