UK drivers: More than half at risk of heavy fine for simple error

UK drivers: More than half at risk of heavy fine for simple error
Lucinda Cameron
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 18/01/2023

- 17:31

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:22

Over 50 per cent of drivers fall foul of the rule

More than 50 per cent of UK drivers fall foul of a rule that applies to roads affected by cold weather, a survey has found.

With the UK in the midst of a cold snap, drivers have been warned about the dangers of ‘portholing’, with the offence posing the risk of a fine and licence points.

The offence is when drivers fail to clear the windows of their car from ice or snow fully.

A gap in the ice or snow is created instead, termed a ‘porthole’, with many drivers deeming this enough to see while driving.

A the survey found that about a million drivers said they had been in a crash as a result of not properly clearing their windscreen.

Most drivers are aware of the risk, with Halfords research finding 82 per cent were aware the offence could result in a fine and licence points.

'Portholing' could land Brits with a hefty fine
'Portholing' could land Brits with a hefty fine
Image: PA

Another staggering finding from the study found 17 per cent admitted that they have driven with so much ice or snow on their windscreen that they “knew it was dangerous”.

Halfords boss Graham Stapleton says there are many examples suggesting police in parts of the country are cracking down more on the offence.

He said: “Most motorists know that driving with ice or snow on their windows is illegal and dangerous, so I really don’t understand why so many are needlessly putting themselves at risk.

"Whilst officers may exercise some discretion, the letter of the law states that all windows, including those on the sides and at the rear, must be completely free of snow or ice. But anyone driving with just a small part of their windscreen cleared is at risk of being stopped.

"I’d also add that motorists should clear any snow from their roof. When braking, this could be propelled forward and entirely cover the windscreen – not something anyone would want to experience whilst driving, especially at faster speeds such as on a motorway.”

Over quarter (27 per cent) of people who have committed ‘portholing’ felt the snow or ice would melt and fall off once their car started.

The most common excuse for committing the offence included being later for work (41 per cent), taking the kids to school (14 per cent) or a meeting or appointment (17 per cent).

You may like