Updated: 28/01/2013 07:43 | By motoringresearch.com

Snow warning: clear your roof or face a fine

Motoring expert reminds drivers to brush snow off their car roofs or risk the consequences...

Snow warning: clear your roof or face a fine

Motorists are being warned not to forget about their roof when clearing the snow from their car on the way to work or school this morning.

Motoring accessory retailer Halfords said the fine could be £60 plus three points on your licence – but it could be much worse if snow falling from your car is shown to have caused an accident.

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The firm has released the warning following research that showed 20% of motorists – 6 million drivers – don’t remove snow from their cars before driving off.

They clear the front and rear windows, it seems, but not the rest of the car. It is snow on the roof of the vehicle, usually forgotten about, that can cause the biggest dangers.

This includes snow falling backwards onto the road – or cars – behind or, more seriously, falling onto the windscreen during braking.

As the interior of the car warms up, the layer of snow next to the car melts, causing the entire build-up of snow on the roof of the car to become loose. If it has been there several days, it may have frozen near the bottom too, meaning it will move as a solid mass.

If it releases as you brake, this can completely obscure the windscreen. If it releases on the move, it can mean cars behind risk significant damage from a heavy moving mass. Halfords estimates a four-inch build-up of snow on a car roof weighs 35kg.

Police have the power to fine motorists under rule 229 of the Highway Code, which states that all windows, lights, number plates and mirrors are clear, and that all snow that could fall into the path of other road users is clear.

Halfords winter motoring expert Alan Rennie said: “Driving with snow on your car roof could land you with a £60 fine and three points on your licence.

“It could be even worse if you are involved in an accident because of snow falling off your car – if police chose to prosecute for careless or inconsiderate driving.

“Our research should give all drivers that extra incentive to remove the snow from most parts of their car, not just the windows, before they set off. It’s very simple to use a snow brush and clear the roof.”

There’s a fuel saving too – 35kg on the roof of the car is said to reduce fuel efficiency, already down due to the cold weather, by a further 2%…

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