Driving in adverse conditions: Legal advice and Safety tips

Driving in adverse conditions: Legal advice and Safety tips

Scotland is expecting more snow in the next couple of weeks. We have some practical advice for helping to improve your safety while driving in these adverse conditions, as well as guidance on what is and isn’t legal.

Is it illegal to drive with snow on your car?

Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states you must be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle, so you should clear snow and ice from the passenger windows, as well as the front and back windscreens. Having full visibility is vital at any time of year, but especially during difficult driving conditions.

What about snow on the roof?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal to drive with snow on the roof or bonnet of the car. However you should take precautions and take time to clear it, as the snow could move and obstruct the windscreen while driving.

If this happens, or if it gets in the path of another car on the road, you could be penalised for“driving without due consideration” or “using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition”

Plates and lights

It is a legal requirement to ensure your lights and registration plates are clearly visible at all times, so remember to clear these before setting off.

Mirrors and de-misting

Falling under the same category as clear visibility, you must not drive without ensuring your mirrors, windows and windscreen are all 100% unobstructed, including by mist.

If you get stuck

If you find yourself stuck in snow, revving the engine to try and power out  will only make it more difficult. Instead, try to move your vehicle slowly backwards and forwards, using the highest gear you can, as this will help to level the surface around you out.

Don’t let your guard down

During wintry weather, road surfaces are often wet and/or covered in frost and ice or snow. But this does not occur uniformly. If you reach a main road that looks less affected, remember it likely still has isolated patches of frost or ice, so maintain your distance from the vehicle in front and avoid sudden braking or acceleration.

Minor accidents

If you do have a bump in this weather, and you are able to, take pictures of skid marks made by your car and any other vehicle involved, as well as the general road conditions. This will help if you need to make a claim.

We are here if you do need help with a personal injury claim, but please do take care and stay safe on the roads.