DRIVERS across the county can often end up being unable to see out of the back window of their cars.
With colder weather settling in, windows can fog up or be covered by frost.
If you’ve driven down muddy roads, parked under a tree or left your car in a garage for a while, your windows may end up covered in dirt, bird poop and dust.
Some drivers may need to transport a lot of a baggage and pile their back seats or boots with too much stuff so that they can’t see out of the back.
However, having any sort of obstruction to your view from your car while driving is, in fact, against the law.
So many drivers are unknowingly putting themselves in danger or at risk of being slapped with a fine if they can’t see out of the back – as well as side and front – of their cars.
We look at the rules, laws and penalties surrounding obstructed car windows and the potential penalties drivers face for breaking them.
What are the rules?
As a driver, you are responsible for making sure your vehicle is always safe to drive or “roadworthy”.
Both the Highway Code and the law says that not only back windows, but all windows in cars must be kept clean and free from obstruction to the driver’s vision.
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The Highway Code says: “Windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision.”
Meanwhile, the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations say: “All glass or other transparent material fitted to a motor vehicle shall be maintained in such condition that it does not obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road.”
Overloading your car is also against the law – and not only because it could block your rear view.
Ignoring this weight limit can actually be dangerous as an overloaded vehicle could place strain on the tyres and weaken the handling of your motor, making it more likely you’ll have an accident.
Can you be fined?
Drivers can be slapped with a £50 fixed penalty offence if their vehicle or part of their vehicle is in a dangerous or defective condition, according to RAC.
This includes a window being obstructed or not clear.
A £50 fixed penalty notice can also be issued if there’s a negligent use of a motor vehicle, like a driver not having a full view ahead, or it exceeds its weight restriction.
More seriously, you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition, according to Gov.uk.
If you are involved in an accident when your vehicle is loaded beyond its maximum limit or your view was obstructed, your insurance could also be invalidated.
This could then see you liable for the cost of damage to other people or property, as well as the cost of damage to your own car.
How to avoid breaching the rules
Every time you drive you should check that you have a good view from your windows before setting off.
Gov.uk recommends drivers check their windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean, as well as making sure all lights and the brakes work.
Your vehicle’s handbook will also tell you how often to check thinks like whether your windscreen and rear window washer bottles are empty.
The handbook will tell you the maximum weight your car should hold, including passengers and luggage.
Even if you are loading your car within its weight limit, it’s likely you will need to increase your tyre pressure, so be sure to check them before you start packing.
If you are worried you may go overweight, you should weigh any items you put in the car or head to weighbridge to get an accurate reading.
Use Gov.uk’s weighbridge locator tool to find your nearest one.
Elsewhere, we explain the rules around reversing or driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
Meanwhile, three changes in driving rules this month could lead to a £100 fine if breached.
Finally, we explain how to check your driving licence is still in date and avoid being fined.
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