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Lights, number plates and accessories


Answer

It is safest to assume that all the lights on your vehicle must be in working order – if they aren't you may commit an offence. However, there are exemptions in relation to a:

  • rear fog lamp on a vehicle which is part of a combination of vehicles, any part of which is not required to be fitted with a rear fog lamp.
  • rear fog lamp on a motor vehicle drawing a trailer.
  • defective lamp, reflector, dim-dip device or headlamp levelling device on a vehicle in use on a road between sunrise and sunset, if any such lamp, reflector or device became defective during the journey which is in progress or if arrangements have been made to remedy the defect as soon as possible.
  • lamp, reflector, dim-dip device, headlamp levelling device or rear marking on a combat vehicle in use on a road between sunrise and sunset.
  • front fog lamp or a daytime running lamp on a vehicle which was first registered before 1st March 2018.


Answer

Driving in icy and snowy weather

In winter check the local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather. DO NOT drive in these conditions unless your journey is essential. If it is, take great care and allow more time for your journey. Take an emergency kit of de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.

Before you set off

  • you MUST have a full view of the road and traffic ahead, so clear snow and ice from all your windows
  • you MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are de misted thoroughly
  • remove all snow from your roof and bonnet, to avoid it slipping or being blown over your windscreen, or flying into the path of another car
  • remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
  • check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snow falls or severe weather are predicted.

When driving in icy or snowy weather:

  • drive with care, even if the roads have been treated
  • keep well back from the road user in front as stopping distances can be ten times greater than on dry roads
  • take care when overtaking vehicles spreading salt or other de-icer, particularly if you are riding a motorcycle or cycle
  • Watch out for snowploughs which may throw out snow on either side. Do not overtake them unless the lane you intend to use has been cleared
  • be prepared for the road conditions to change over relatively short distances
  • Listen to travel bulletins and take note of variable message signs that may provide information about weather, road and traffic conditions ahead.

Drive extremely carefully when the roads are icy. Avoid sudden actions as these could cause loss of control.

You should:

  • drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible; accelerate and brake very gently
  • drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend. Having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend, avoiding sudden actions
  • check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive this may indicate ice and your vehicle losing its grip on the road. When travelling on ice, tyres make virtually no noise.


Answer

Lights mounted on the windscreen wipers are unlawful because lights on vehicles cannot flash, move or dazzle other drivers.

Lights mounted on the screen wash nozzle may be legal if they do not flash, move or dazzle other drivers - this would ultimately be a matter for a court to decide.

It is illegal to have any red lights to the front of the vehicle.


Answer

When non-standard lights are fitted to a vehicle it is not always possible to provide a definitive answer as to their legality but in many cases they will be unlawful. However, ultimately, it will be a matter for a court to decide.

If the light can be seen from the rear of the vehicle (which more than likely will be the case with these types of lights) then an offence is committed as the only lights that can be seen from the rear of the vehicle have to be red (subject to certain exceptions, e.g. indicator lights and reverse light). If you are found guilty of this offence you could face a substantial fine.

The situation is the same for neon lights of other colours.


Answer

You must not use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226 of the Highway Code) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.

You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves.


Answer

These types of lights are known as 'tire flares' and are attached to the tyre valves. They are in contravention of the regulations relating to vehicle lighting, as they are capable of being moved. Any lights on vehicles have to be fixed. If you are found guilty of this offence you could face a substantial fine.


Answer

There are a number of legal requirements in relation to the display and format of number plates. Basically, you must not:

  • alter, rearrange or misrepresent the letters or numbers,
  • characters must not be moved from one group to the other,
  • character size and spacing must comply with the regulations.

Offences in relation to the above may result in any or all of the following:

  • a fine of up to £1,000,
  • the registration mark may be withdrawn by the DVLA,
  • the vehicle may fail the MOT test.

For more information in relation to the format and display of number plates, please see the link in related information.


Answer

The requirements for the visual transmission of light are:

  • Motor vehicles first used on or after 1/4/85 - windscreen 75%, other windows (i.e. front passenger windows) 70%.
  • All motor vehicles first used before 1/4/85 - 70%.

The windows that are exempted from this are the rear windscreen and the rear side windows on both sides.

Police forces now have equipment that can measure light transmission through glass. If your windows don't conform to the above requirements you could be prosecuted. If you are in any doubt whether the windows on your vehicle are lawful, we would suggest you have them checked by a reputable garage.


Answer

No, it's against the law.

Any interference with the number plate to make it less easily distinguishable to the eye or which would impair the making of a true photographic image is against the law.

Although the spray does interfere with flash photography, many speed cameras have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology that uses infrared, thereby making the spray ineffective.

You could be liable for a substantial fine if you are found guilty of using such a spray.


Answer

A vehicle's speedometer must be kept free from any obstruction that may prevent it from being read and shall at all times it is used on a road be maintained in good working order. The only exceptions to this are when:

  • The speedometer became defective during the journey being undertaken, or
  • Steps have been taken to have the defect remedied by replacement or repair as soon as possible.
  • The vehicle has an approved tachograph.


Answer

The following assumes you are not towing a trailer. Generally, you won't commit an offence if the light became defective during the journey or you have made arrangements to have it repaired as soon as possible.


Answer

No, this would be unlawful. Even if a blue light is masked over or doesn't have any wiring, it would still be 'fitted' for the purposes of the law.


Answer

Yes, it is an offence – you cannot obscure your lights or reflectors. You will need to fit a trailer board.


Answer

The requirement is that you must be able to see clearly down both sides of your caravan, and 4 metres either side at a distance of 20 metres behind the caravan. If your existing car mirrors cannot provide this or you are doubtful as to whether they can, it is safest to fit extension towing mirrors otherwise you may commit an offence.


Answer

It is an offence to alter, re-arrange or misrepresent the characters on a number plate in a way that makes it difficult to distinguish the registration number of a vehicle. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of £1000, they also risk having the registration number withdrawn permanently from use and the vehicle may fail an MOT.

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