Tuesday 15 January 2019

6 Top Tips for Avoiding Points on your Driving Licence

Photo by Anwaar Ali on Unsplash

Every driver dreads the time that they happen to be over the speed limit and the yellow camera catches them speeding. It happened to me a few years ago, I was driving in a new area and one side of the roundabout was 60 and the other went straight down to 30, I missed the signs and was doing 38mph and ended up with a nasty letter in the post advising me of my offence.

Of course if you get caught speeding it isn't the end of the world, but penalty points can soon add up and here in the UK once you have 12 points you'll be instantly disqualified. Luckily for me it was my first offence and as such I chose to pay the fine and attend a speed awareness course (which you also have to pay for the privilege to attend) rather than take points on my licence.

To help you avoid getting points on your license, here are a few easy to follow tips -

1.  Be a Responsible Car Owner
When you agree to lend your car to someone else, always make sure there is the necessary insurance in place for them to drive legally. Then if you receive a notice of intention to prosecute in the post for a time you know you were not driving, don't just ignore it, that could cost you 6 penalty points and up to £600 for failing to respond.

Also don't forget to update your driving licence and vehicle registration document when you move house. These are easy ones to forget, but if you do and you are caught speeding, the notice will go to your old home and as you will not provide the necessary details, the case will be heard in your absence and you'll end up with a hefty fine and 6-8 penalty points on your licence, all without your knowledge!

2.  Take a Speed Awareness or Advanced Driving Course
Back in 2014 when I had to attend a speed awareness course I thought it was going to be a waste of time, but actually it was so informative that I'd recommend any driver signs up to do it and updates their knowledge. I was so surprised to learn that street lights don't have to be a specific distance apart to make a road 30mph, if there are three of more then it is automatically a 30mph zone, unless there are signs to the contrary. That was just one of many things I discovered, a few more are detailed over here.

3.  Have regular Eye sight Tests
If you are driving and involved in an accident or traffic incident and it transpires that you have a sight issue that hasn't been corrected with glasses or contacts, you will be liable to a fine and 3 points on your licence. Then if your sight is really poor you could even be prosecuted for dangerous driving. Best book in a sight test, they don't even cost too much!

4.  Report all Traffic Accidents
If you are involved with a prang, no matter how small, you must stop and in the eyes of the law stopping means the physical stopping of the car and also providing your details to the other party. Also, if someone is injured you must report the accident to the police and to your insurance provider.  Failure to do so can result in a large fine and 5 to 10 points on your licence.

5.  Keep away from your Mobile Phone
I know how tempting it is to look at your mobile and send a quick text whilst stuck in traffic, but that carries the some fixed penalty as using your phone when driving. So to be safe, just avoid using your mobile in the car unless you can talk safely via hands free.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

6.  Talk to a Legal Professional
Sometimes points can be contested and it is definitely worth doing this if having them would lead to you losing your licence and result in severe financial hardship. An example would be if your livelihood is based around driving.

The notice of intention to prosecute can also be contested on the basis that it was a very short distance you drove, or you were driving due to a medical or other emergency. A trained legal expert will be able to help you if you feel there were exceptional circumstances.

With some common sense and a little extra care you should be able to avoid any penalty points being added to your driving licence.

All the best and happy driving! Mich x

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