Drivers warned of serious consequences for using Christmas decorations
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Experts at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts warned that drivers could still be penalised for dressing up their vehicle despite it not being illegal. They warn Christmas decorations could “pose a risk to others” if they detach from a vehicle or could obstruct the driver’s view.
Coloured lights may also break very strict regulations and could “confuse road users” in some situations.
The experts said: “While it may look nice, decorating your car this Christmas can also lead to fines, invalidate your insurance and result in driving bans.
“Despite not being illegal, we recommend lights, reindeer antlers, ribbons and tinsel should all be avoided inside and outside of your vehicle this Christmas.
“One of the main risks is if any decorations obstruct your view. They should definitely not be put on dashboards or windows.
“Affecting your view out of the windscreen can lead to three points and up to £1,000 in fines. Adding fairy lights to your car can also be very dangerous. Additional lights can confuse road users and cause collisions.
“According to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, coloured lights that are not native to your vehicle should not be used and doing so can get you in trouble.
“If any decorations were also to detach from your car they could pose a risk to others.
“If this was to happen and cause an accident you could face a charge of ‘careless driving’ or ‘driving without reasonable consideration for other road users’ – which can lead to a court case and an unlimited fine and a driving ban depending on the situation.”
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Other motoring experts have also previously warned of the dangers of decorating vehicles.
The Hippo Motor Group warned that something as small as a car sticker could be considered a “modification”.
This runs the risk of driving up car insurance premiums even if drivers are not in an accident.
They added: “Drivers who want to get into the spirit of the season on their daily commutes, by transforming their car into Rudolph the Red Nose Renault, should probably think again if they want to avoid having a blue Christmas this year. Bah humbug, indeed.”
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Experts at All Car Leasing also raised warnings over the risks associated with Christmas lights on vehicles.
They said: “You may be wondering why it is that people receive fines or points for dressing up their cars with lights at Christmas.
“It’s not because the police are being grinches, but because it’s actually illegal and breaks a law called The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations act.”
They added: “The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations act states that it’s illegal to have many different coloured lights on the front and rear of the car, as being in conjunction with your standard rear and headlights can confuse other drivers. You couldn’t even put fairy lights like you would on your tree on either.
“You could also get into quite a bit of trouble if you were to put lights on similar to that of an emergency vehicle, as you could be seen to be impersonating an ambulance or police car.”
Drivers are also being urged to take caution when transporting their Christmas tree, as failure to bring it home safely could mean fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.
Julie Daniels from the car insurance team at Comparethemarket said: “Even though there aren’t any laws specifically related to transporting a Christmas tree, drivers could still face fines or penalty points when driving with a tree on, or in their vehicle.
“Regulation 100 of the Road Vehicles Regulations 1986 requires any load to be suitably secured so that it is not at risk of falling off or being blown off the vehicle.”
“If police or even other witnesses believe a tree is unsecure or unsafe, drivers could face three penalty points or a fine of up to £2,500.”
Ms Daniels added: “Regulation 30 clearly states that drivers need to have a full view of the road ahead, so if the tree obscures this or causes damage that could affect the driver’s vision of the road, they could be at risk of receiving a £1,000 fine or three penalty points.”
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