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Is It Illegal to Drive In Wellies?

As we head into the depths of winter and the prospect of driving in rain, sleet, snow and ice, several winter driving myths start doing the rounds. They’re usually perpetuated by ‘Sharon’ on Facebook, or ‘Nigel’ down the pub who ‘knows’ everything. Here we look at what’s true and what’s not.

So, Can You Drive Legally in Wellies?

Yes, you can! It’s not illegal to drive while wearing wellies, but you must have full control of your vehicle. In the Highway Code, rule 97 states that motorists should ensure 'clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner'. If you have an accident where it’s deemed that your footwear was a contributory factor, your insurance could be invalidated.

You Can Receive A Fine for Leaving Your Engine Running to Defrost Your Windscreen

True. It’s tempting to leave your car running with the heater on while you stay warm with a cup of tea. But if your vehicle is on a public road, you would be committing an offence and you could face a £20 fine. Refusing to turn off the engine doubles the penalty to £40. However, if the vehicle is parked on your own drive, it’s not an offence.

Leaving Your Engine Running Invalidates Your Insurance

True. Whether your car is on the road or on your driveway, if you leave the engine running while the vehicle is unattended, your insurance won’t cover you if it is stolen. The same applies if you leave the car running while you post a letter, pick up a newspaper, or drop the kids at school. The law also states that drivers should always be in control while the engine is running.

Winter Tyres Could Invalidate Your Insurance

Not true. Winter tyres are made of a softer rubber compound that gives them a more effective grip in temperatures below 7°C and they perform better in the wet. But some people say they are deemed to be a modification to your car which you have to tell your insurer about. However, most UK insurance companies are signed up to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Winter Tyres Motor Insurance Commitment. That means that, as winter tyres are considered safer, you don’t have to notify your insurer.

Defrosting Your Windscreen with Hot Water Will Crack the Glass

True. Pouring a kettle of hot water over your windscreen to remove ice may seem like the quickest way, but you can damage the glass. The rapid change in temperature can cause small cracks which later spread and weaken the glass. If your screen already has small cracks or chips, water can seep in and, when it freezes, expand to make bigger cracks.

It’s Illegal to Drive with Snow on Your Number Plates

True! Both your front and rear number plates must be visible at all times. If you drive without clearing your plates of snow, you could be slapped with a £1,000 fine. One tip to keep the snow/ice off for longer is to smear WD40 or grease over the number plates.

Of course, if you’ve got personalised number plates, you always want to ensure they can be seen. After all you’ve invested good money in them. If you haven’t yet got your private registration number – why not? CarReg can help you to find personalised number plates to suit your budget.

Drive safely this winter!