Car fines to be aware of ahead of wedding season
With summer just around the corner, wedding season is very nearly upon us. Over the next few months, many Brits will either be getting married, or attending nuptials up and down the country. In fact, 45% of all weddings in 2023 are taking place in the months of June, July, and August.
While many brides, grooms, and wedding guests will be preoccupied with all of the planning and anticipation for the big day, they should also be aware of the rules of the road to ensure they stay safe as they travel to and from the celebrations.
To help drivers avoid any hefty fines or penalties that will be sure to put a dampener on any wedding day, we’ve put together a list of seven driving dos and don’ts to ensure any upcoming nuptials go off without a hitch.
1. Avoid driving in restrictive wedding attire and high heels
Highway Code: Rule 97
Penalty: £1,000 fine + 3 penalty points
While it’s unlikely the bride will be driving herself to the wedding, some guests might be driving to the occasion donned in fancy dresses or tight-fitting suits.
Before setting off you need to make sure that your clothing doesn’t prevent you from using the vehicle’s controls in the correct manner, and those in high heels need to also ensure that they still maintain proper control of the vehicle.
Failure to do so could land you with a £1,000 fine and 3 penalty points on your licence, so perhaps keep the flat shoes and comfortable clothes on for the drive, and change into your nice outfit when you arrive at the venue.
2. Always wear a seatbelt
Highway Code: Rule 99
Penalty: £500 fine
No matter how big or beautiful the wedding dress is, don’t be tempted to forgo wearing a seatbelt just to protect it. Also, avoid cramming too many people in the car just to get everyone over to the venue at once.
The Highway Code states that every single person in the car needs to be wearing a seatbelt, and if you’re caught not wearing a seatbelt when you’re supposed to be, you could face a fine of £500.
3. Don’t toot your horn in celebration
Highway Code: Rule 112
Penalty: up to £1,000 fine
While it could be very tempting to toot your horn in honour of the newly-weds, doing so could land you with a hefty fine.
The Highway Code states that your horn can only be used while your vehicle is moving, and then only to warn other road users of your presence. If you’re found to be honking your horn without good reason, even in celebration, you may find yourself with a Fixed Penalty Notice. You’ll have to pay £30 which could rise to as much as £1,000 if disputed.
4. Ensure wedding decorations don’t obscure your view
Highway Code: Rule 30
Penalty: up to £2,500 fine + 3 penalty points
It’s the age-old tradition to decorate your car with cans, bunting, and ‘Just Married’ signs in order to leave your venue in style, and let everyone know you’ve just tied the knot.
However, if your decorations affect your view of the road and traffic ahead, you could be landed with a hefty fine. Failure to have a full view of the road could lead to a £1,000 fine and 3 penalty points, and even worse, if you’re deemed to be driving the vehicle in a dangerous condition, the fine could be up to £2,500.
5. Avoid driving tired
Highway Code: Rule 91
Penalty: 2 year’s imprisonment + unlimited fine + obligatory disqualification
You might be the designated driver, but even if you haven’t had a drop of alcohol, it can still be very dangerous to get behind the wheel after a late night of partying. The same goes for driving the next morning too.
Driving when tired greatly increases your risk of an accident, so ensure you get sufficient sleep the night before a journey and don’t set off if you are tired. Aside from the safety issues involved, if you are deemed to be driving dangerously, you could face up to 2 year’s imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban.
6. Don’t drive under the influence
Penalty: 6 months imprisonment + an unlimited fine + 1 year driving ban
Whether you’re taking advantage of the free bar, or toasting the happy couple with a glass of bubbles, weddings are often a great excuse to have a drink. Of course, this goes without saying, but under no circumstances should you get behind the wheel if you’re over the legal limit.
If you’re caught drink driving, you could face up to 6 month’s imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban of at least 1 year. You could also face an increase in car insurance costs, and have trouble travelling abroad.
Don’t risk harming yourself or those around you. Make sure you organise a safe way home after the wedding, whether that be with a designated driver or a taxi, and if you’re heading off in the morning, ensure you aren’t still over the legal limit to drive.
7. Do change your name (if required)
Penalty: up to £1,000
This tip is specifically for newlyweds. Not everyone will change their name of course, but those that do adopt their partner’s surname might have to update their driving licence to reflect this.
It’s worth noting that if you take your partner’s name just in social situations, without legally changing it, then there is no obligation to update your driving licence.
If you do change your name by deed poll though, then this is a legal change and your driving licence must also reflect this. Driving with an invalid licence could see you facing a fine of up to £1,000.
Advice for safe driving this wedding season
Whether you’re the one getting married, or if you’re watching two of your loved ones tie the knot, a wedding is such a special occasion, and a huge cause for celebration. However, even amongst all the excitement, it’s incredibly important that drivers remain vigilant behind the wheel.
Make sure your outfit and footwear don’t affect your control of the car, and if needed, change into your fancy attire once you reach the venue. Even if you’re only travelling a short distance to the wedding, ensure absolutely everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt – it’s just not worth the safety or penalty risks to be caught without one. Above all, don’t get behind the wheel if you’re tired, and especially not if you’re under the influence of alcohol, to ensure you keep yourself and others safe on the roads.
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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert
Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.