Four Christmas driving mistakes to avoid – and one could get you fined up to £5,000

DRIVERS know to be extra cautious out on the roads in winter but the rules don't relax over Christmas – and there could be expensive consequences.

You might find yourself top to toe in tailbacks, as many make trips to visit family over the festive period, or cram in their last minute shopping flurry – but it's important to avoid making driving mistakes.

Otherwise it could be a costly Christmas if you find yourself slapped with a fine to fork out for on top of the hundreds you've yet to pay for food and more.

In some cases they could be worth as much as £5,000 and you might face a penalty too.

The RAC warns that this Christmas could be the busiest ever on the roads as 27million trips by car to see friends and family up until Christmas Eve are expected to take place.

That means it's even more important to stay vigilant on the roads and avoid causing any danger or risking any charges.

Taking your eyes off the road to skip that Christmas song you've heard a hundred times, or not paying attention to how many zip ties you used to keep the tree on the roof in place, could all amount in a number of expenses.

Here are four things you should be wary of as you take on the wintery roads this festive season.

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Deck the halls, not your car exterior

Driving with an obstructed view could land you with a £1,000 fine.

So those low hanging fairy lights that swing in front of the rearview mirror every few minutes could leave you with empty pockets if you're not careful.

It may feel festive to add tinsel, lights or a Santa hat to your motor so you can feel merry on the motorway, but the issue is that it can pose a risk to other drivers, as well as obstruct your own view of the road.

If your decorations fall off and cause an accident, you could be hit with a careless driving fine of £100 and have three points added to your licence.

Decorating a car is also considered a vehicle modification which would invalidate your car insurance.

Anything from stickers to garlands could cause your premium to go up over risk factor or your claims to be compromised, so it's worth keeping the festive décor just to your home.

Not to mention, if you happen to be due an MOT around this time of year, you can in-fact fail your test if you have something as simple as a festive air freshener or a bauble hanging from the mirror too.

A silent night could be safer

Singing along to Christmas songs in the car could land you fines and more.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a rising Bublé, you might want to reconsider taking your talents to the shower or another more stationary venue.

"Driving without due care and attention" or "dangerous driving" could land you with a severe penalty of up to £5,000 and nine points on your licence in the most serious of circumstances.

This could be caused by singing and dancing in the car and you could be charged with as much if you get caught.

The radio stations may be belting out some of the classics but it's important to stay focussed on the road to avoid the hefty fines.

Driving home for Christmas, with a tree strapped on the roof

The rules aren't being broken if you drive home from the garden centre with a tree strapped to your car roof.

But if it's not tied down properly you could be in massive trouble.

In the Highway Code it states that motorists must secure their load and ensure heavy and sharp objects are safe.

If that's not obeyed, or you've loaded your car with too much, you could face a £100 fine.

Carrying on the party in the car

Many are looking to celebrate the festive season with a tipple or two, but an expensive month means you might not have the funds to fork out for a taxi or the train fare to and from your party destination.

If you're taking your own car instead, it's extremely important to remember the rules around drinking, especially if you're sitting behind the wheel.

Drink driving could land you a fine of up to £2,500.

But it's not only that, you could lose your licence or even be sent to prison if caught drink driving.

If you are the sensible one, and appoint yourself the designated driver for your pals though, there's another little known fine that you should be aware of.

Another £2,500 fine could be thrown your way just for charging for lifts, as you're not allowed to make a profit from giving other passengers a lift unless you have a valid taxi or private hire licence.

The RAC warns you should be careful even the morning after too, as you could still be in a dangerous condition and in a position where you could still be charged.

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