Temperatures are rising in the UK as we’re finally getting a glimpse of what summer will look like.
But while it’s pleasant to see the weather heating up, did you know you could land yourself trouble behind the wheel?
Moneyshake has looked into motoring laws that you’re probably breaking without realising during a heatwave.
Eben Lovatt, CEO at Moneyshake, said “Drivers planning staycations with bikes and luggage should be careful to avoid overloading their car or covering their licence plate, as they could be fined up to £2,500.
“While some offences seem unlikely to result in a fine, it’s still very possible that you could be penalised for not following the Highway Code in hot weather.
“We recommend you don’t take the risk, as heatwaves are for enjoying, not for losing your licence.”
The experts looked into 8 driving laws you could be breaking when the weather’s warm…
1. Freeing a dog from a hot car – Max penalty: 10 years in prison
We all know that you should not leave your pet in a hot car, under any circumstances.
But what happens if you do see a dog suffering in the heatwave – are you allowed to break the window and free them?
If you can’t justify breaking into the car, it could be seen as criminal damage.
The Crown Prosecution Service states that destroying or damaging someone else’s property could land you up to 10 years in prison.
If an animal is suffering in a hot car, dial 999 and the police will give you advice on what to do.
2. Sunglasses – Max penalty: A ban, 3-9 points and an unlimited fine
Everyday sunglasses can be too dark for driving, according to the AA.
Some sunglasses can also affect your sight, as the edge of the frame blocks your peripheral vision.
If your sunglasses aren’t fit for driving, you could be penalised for careless and inconsiderate driving.
On the other hand, the Highway Code says you should pull over if you are ever “dazzled by bright sunlight”.
3. Paying at the drive-thru – Max penalty: A ban, 3 points and a £1,000 fine
With more drive-thrus reopening, drivers are encouraged to use contactless payments.
But if you use the likes of Google Pay and Apple Pay at the drive-thru window, you could be penalised for using your mobile phone while driving.
4. AC and windows – Max penalty: 2 years in prison, 3-11 points and a fine
Rule 237 of the Highway Code says you must keep your vehicle well-ventilated to avoid drowsiness.
Driving while tired isn’t an offence, but the AA says it can drastically increase your chances of driving dangerously, which can result in a serious penalty.
Recently, we recorded the temperature inside a car reaching a sweltering 33°C, which is hotter than the average summer in Mexico!
5. Hayfever meds – Max penalty: 6 months in prison, 3-11 points and a fine
A 2018 study revealed that 60% of hayfever sufferers admit taking medication before they get behind the wheel.
But hayfever meds can result in sleepiness and blurred vision, which would make you unfit to drive.
A new Highway Code rule from 2015 says that you must not drive under the influence of drugs or medicine.
6. Bringing your bike – Max penalty: £1,000 fine
Rear-mounted bike racks are a cheap and convenient option for bringing your bike on a trip.
But these racks can cover your licence plates, which will land you a hefty fine and your car will fail its MOT.
If you do drive with a rear-mounted bike rack, consider a lighting board to display your licence plate, reflectors and lights clearly.
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7. Overloading the car – Max penalty: 3 points and a £2,500 fine
Beware of overloading the car as this could land you in trouble.
Rule 98 of the Highway Code says you should not overload your vehicle with a weight that’s greater than the manufacturer’s recommendation.
You could land a penalty for using your vehicle in a dangerous condition.
8. Driving on wet roads – Max penalty: 2 years in prison, a ban, 3-11 points and a fine
According to the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), asphalt roads can “bleed” through to the surface in hot weather after rain, which reduces skidding resistance and makes the road more slippery.
Thanks to the unpredictable British weather, you could find yourself driving in a heatwave after a sudden downpour.
Drivers should drive with caution as if there’s an accident, they will be convicted for dangerous driving.