Drivers during Easter, May and summer bank holidays could face £600 fines

With the Easter bank holiday now in our rear view mirrors, we take the knowledge we have gained during the break to help prepare you for the bank holiday weekends still to come. With so many taking to the roads for longer trips during these longer weekends, it is important to bear in mind the following.

1. Making up for lost time by speeding

Bank holidays generally mean busy roads. If you’ve been stuck at a snail’s pace for hours, it can be tempting to ‘make up time’ once you have some open road in front of you.

But speeding will not make you get to your destination any faster, and could end in tragedy. Even if it doesn’t, local police will be out in force looking to catch those breaking the rules.

Consequences include being issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for £100 minimum. But if you’re seriously over the speed limit you could be prosecuted and lose up to 150% of your weekly income. AND be disqualified from driving.

It’s just not worth the few seconds you could potentially save.

Bonus tip: Drivers in or passing through Wales should pay particular care, as the speed limit on all ‘restricted roads’ has been set at 20mph. This is basically all built up areas across the country.

Fine: £100 if a Fixed Penalty Notice. Between 50% and 150% of weekly income and up to 56-day ban from driving if prosecuted.

2. Middle lane hogging

Brits seem to love the middle lane of a motorway, as it gives the option of going left or right for overtakes.

But you’re not actually supposed to stay in the middle lane for any longer than needed to complete an overtake. Rule 264 of the Highway Code states: ‘Keep in the left lane unless overtaking. If you are overtaking, you should return to the left lane when it is safe to do so.’

Of course, in heavy traffic when the left lane is packed it is justifiable to stay in the middle lane. But bear this in mine during your next bank holiday drive!

Fine: £100 fine if a Fixed Penalty Notice for careless driving. Potentially higher fines if prosecuted for careless driving.

3. Driving with Airpods in.

If you’re looking to let others in your car get some rest while you catch up on a podcast, using an airpod or other wireless headphone might seem like the solution. But this could distract you from hearing what is going on around you, just as turning your music up too loud would.

Rule 148 of the Highway Code states that drivers must stay free from any distraction from the road. This includes loud music, arguing with other passengers, fiddling with the radio, etc.

Fine: £100 and three penalty points.

4. Looking at your phone.

Looking at your mobile phone or operating it in any way while driving breaches Highway Code rule 149.

This applies even if you’re using a hands-free device or when completely still in traffic.

The rules are very clear about this: If you’re behind the wheel, it doesn’t matter how long the traffic has been stationary, you can’t use your phone. If you are caught you will be issued with a £200 fine.

Fine: £200 and six penalty points.

5. Vaping or smoking

Traffic is stressful, and smokers naturally turn to nicotine to calm themselves down.

There is no rule against vaping explicitly, but it could easily be seen as a distraction under Rule 148 - leading to £100 fine. Or more serious charges if it were to contribute to a crash.

This will be far worse if you’re using a vape that emits a huge amount of vapour, obstructing your vision. Smoking can also be seen as a distraction under the same rule as vaping. And if you have anyone under 18 in your car then you are simply not allowed to smoke - that could see you fined £50, even if it isn’t deemed distracting.

Fine: £100 and three penalty points if distracted, and £50 if a child is in your car while smoking.

The conclusion? Be aware of your habits behind the wheel and aim to break them if they apply to the above. It will not only save you from potential future fines, but could also save your life!

Bonus tip: How to prove your innocence: A Dash Cam.

It may be the case that you are accused of one of these offenses without actually having committed any wrong-doing. Things can go pear-shaped on busy roads, and sometimes it isn’t clear who is at fault for the police. A Dash Cam will protect you from fines made in error or liability when you aren’t at any fault in a traffic incident.

This could save you thousands in no claims bonuses.

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