How a dirty car could cost you £1,000

Keeping your car's number plates and lights clean is essential for safety – and to avoid a substantial fine.

Washing your car in winter can feel like thankless task. However, you could face a £1,000 fine if your number plates are obscured by dirt.

“Although there is no law against having a dirty car, the law is very clear when it comes to keeping your number plates clear; you risk a £1,000 fine if you allow it to become obscured,” said Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer.

“A number plate must be readable and not covered by dirt. This is to ensure a vehicle can be identified as and when required.”

On wet roads covered in salt and grit, number plates may need cleaning on a daily basis. But you don’t need to wash the entire car – a few paper towels soaked in hot water should make the plates legal again.

Keep your lights clean, too

As well as your keeping your number plates clean, it’s important to ensure your lights are shining bright as they should.

With the short winter days and long nights, lights are at their most essential at this time of year. Make sure your car’s headlights, tail lights, fog lights, side repeaters and reflectors are all wiped down and clean.

“It makes sense to get into the habit of giving your number plate a regular wipe – every day when conditions require. Do the same for your front and rear lights, and you will be doing your bit for safety during this risky time of year,” said Worth.

READ MORE:

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Motoring Research team
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