By now, we are all aware of the legal factors of driving which could land you with a fine or penalty, such as speeding, travelling in an un-taxed vehicle or using your mobile phone whilst on the road, but were you aware that the condition of your vehicle could also result in a hefty fine or fixed penalty charge coming your way?
After accidents on the road, some vehicles continue being driven due to un-seen impact or bodywork damage which seems harmless, with many drivers waiting over 30 days before arranging for a check-over or repair. Others may attempt quick fixes, such as exchanging a damaged tyre for a new one, resulting in a vehicle running on un-matched tyres and risking dangerous driving or further road traffic accidents. Factors such as these, however unknown amongst road users, can actually be illegal. Let’s take a walk through them.
Driving with a cracked windscreen can not only cause you to fail your MOT, but may result in a penalty charge and three points on your licence. Windscreens can crack due to a wide range of reasons and it may not be a fault of your own, but it is important that you take responsibility and book in for repair with your local mechanic as soon as possible and refrain from driving until your windscreen is crack free.
Several aspects of your tyres need to comply with legal standards to remain safe for the road. Failure to do so can result in a fixed penalty if pulled over for evaluation. This includes your tyres measuring with the correct tyre tread depth (many vehicle manufacturers include a Tread Wear Indicator (TWI) within the treads which become increasingly visible as the tread wears down), each tyre remaining clear of bulges and tears, and having your tyres match accordingly.
Damaged or missing wing-mirrors
Although it may not result in a direct fine, driving with a broken, missing or cracked wing-mirror can result in your vehicle being pulled over by the police. They have the right to issue you with a notice which requires repair within the next 14 days and failure to do so can result in further consequences. However, you will still be allowed to drive so long as your interior rear-view mirror and opposite wing-mirror remain intact.
There are further vehicle faults which could also result in a fine and/or penalty and, although they remain more well-known amongst drivers than the previous, they are equally as important to remember. These include:
• A cracked or broken exhaust
This can cause engine faults as well as a risk of leakage or spluttering of moisture and oil onto the road.
• A loose exhaust
As well as the above risks, a loose exhaust could detach from your vehicle and cause an unsafe obstruction in the road.
• Faulty headlights
Faulty headlights will fail to show you a clear path for your route, as well as alerting other road users and pedestrians of your presence, causing a risk to everyone’s safety.
• Faulty brake lights
With the inability for drivers behind you to see that you are coming to a stop, you could risk a road accident, possibly involving more than two vehicles.
• Faulty indicators
Without other road users remaining aware of your choice of direction at junctions and roundabouts, you could risk causing an accident.
• Broken windscreen wipers
Without the ability to clear your windscreen of rain, dust or even snow, your view of the road could become obstructed, resulting in unsafe driving.
• Broken or obscured number plates
Broken, missing or obscured number plates are often utilised by those committing a criminal offence and attempting to cover the identity of the vehicle. Make sure your number plate is clear and secure to avoid being pulled over for inspection.
Here at Bromley Vehicle Test Centre, we are on hand to provide your vehicle with specialist MOTs, servicing and repairs to ensure that you remain roadworthy at all times. To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch with a member of our team by calling 020 8460 6666 and we will be happy to assist.