Financial & Legal News

Winter Accidents and Fines

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Many motorists are unaware that frost and ice on their car windows, as well as limited vision caused by snow, is against the law.

With winter storms hitting the UK it pays to be aware. If you set off without clearing your windscreen hoping it will clear as you drive along, you are breaking the law, said legal adviser, Lisa Anderson.

In addition, pedestrians and other drivers could be a risk when a motorist’s vision is limited.

Accidents in Winter

If you are a pedestrian who is hit by a car and injured you can of course claim compensation. As well as endeavouring to recover the maximum compensation for clients when they have been injured on the roads and pavements, our personal injury solicitors also try and assist with appropriate rehabilitation and any care and help needed.

Demisting your car is essential for safety reasons, and failure to do so can lead to fines or penalties for several reasons.

“Section 229 of the Highway Code confirms that before you set off, you must have clear visibility, so it’s essential to clear all snow and ice from your windows,” advised Lisa.  “It must also be a priority to make sure your lights are clean and your number plate is visible.”

“Condensation that accumulates inside the vehicle can also obscure your vision and so must also be cleared. Any snow on the roof of your car that might fall off into the path of others could lead to a fixed penalty fine and three penalty points on your licence.”

“It is essentially common sense, but all too often people set off with obscured vision and may not notice pedestrians and other road users, often resulting in accidents and personal injury claims,” said Lisa.

The rules of the Highway Code are also supported by Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988.  This states that before you set off driving it is a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead and failure to do so could land you with a fine, but more importantly, could put your life of the lives of other road users or your passengers in danger.

Why it’s essential to clear your car windows:

  • Visibility: Demisting ensures clear visibility through all windows of your vehicle. Fogged or misted windows can significantly impair your ability to see the road, other vehicles, pedestrians, and potential hazards, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Legal requirements: Many traffic regulations and road safety laws require drivers to maintain clear visibility while operating a vehicle. Failing to demist your car could be considered a violation of these laws, resulting in fines or penalties.
  • Safety of yourself and others: Clear visibility is crucial for the safety of both the driver and other road users. If you can't see properly due to misted windows, you may not be able to react on time to changing road conditions, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

It is also worth remembering that if you are de-icing your car before a journey you should never leave your vehicle unattended, even to run into the house if you have forgotten something. Not only is it a target for thieves, it is also against the law as if you park your car on a public road, engine idling is illegal under the Road Traffic Act.

In addition, sometimes your insurance company will not cover an unattended vehicle left running if your car is stolen.

For legal advice on any issues involving snow and ice, slips and trips and how to make sure you do not get caught out call our team on 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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