MOTORS are warned that giving their cars a festive makeover could end up with unwanted Christmas presents – a £ 5,000 fine and nine penalty points.
Millions of Britons are getting into the spirit of the holiday season by decorating their homes with tons of garlands, fairy lights and Christmas ornaments.
The trend is now spreading to vehicles – with reindeer antlers, Rudolph’s red noses and even huge Santa hats becoming more and more common on highways across the country as the big day approaches.
But while these car decorations can make other motorists laugh, if they become dislodged and fall onto the roadway, they could obstruct another vehicle.
If this leads to an accident, you could be charged with reckless driving as it falls under the competence of “driving without reasonable consideration to other road users”.
Duncan McClure Fisher, Founder and CEO of Leading Automotive Association MotorEasy, said, “Christmas is one of the favorite times of the year for many families, so it’s understandable that people want to celebrate in style.
“But whatever the occasion, we always have a responsibility to obey the laws about cars and other drivers.
“While giving your engine a festive makeover may seem like a harmless treat, it could potentially pose a danger to other road users.
“If that happens, it will end up costing you money in fines, putting penalty points on your license and, more importantly, putting people at risk if things go wrong.”
Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users results in a penalty of up to nine penalty points and a fine of £ 5,000. In severe cases, this could also result in a driving ban.
According to the Road Traffic Act, anything that obstructs a driver’s vision in any way is considered a hazard.
This means that garlands hanging from the sun visor and flashing lights around the exterior mirrors are also prohibited.
If caught there is a £ 100 fine, which can skyrocket to £ 1,000, and three penalty points if the case is challenged in court and the driver loses.
Even those who plan to put plastic mini elves or reindeer on the dash to give kids a thrill can be breaking the law.
Indeed, these could be considered as “modifications” and therefore invalidate an insurance policy if they are not declared.
This means that you would not be covered in the event of an accident, and even if you remain incident free, your premiums are likely to be increased.