The Consumer Lawyer

What isn’t safe to wear behind the wheel?

By Dean Dunham – 5 December 2021

Motoring experts at National Tyres and Autocare have urged those taking to the roads this festive season to be wary of what they’re wearing as your clothing and footwear can leave you with a £5000 fine. They are right although this is a problem year round. I’ve heard lots of stories over the years from readers who have  been landed with a fine or have run into problems with their insurance due to what they were wearing behind the wheel. Here’s a selection of your stories:

Santa suit

Terrence in West Midlands agreed to be Father Christmas for his sons Cub group Christmas 2018. To avoid the children seeing him dress up, he put the whole outfit (save for the beard) on at home and then got in his car to drive the ten minute journey. On the way Terrence was involved in a car accident. He felt comfortable that it wasn’t his fault but the other driver claimed that Terrence was not in control of his car due to being restricted by the Santa suit. His insurance company agreed and admitted liability, causing his premiums to sky rocket.

Flip flops

Wendy in Newcastle nearly had an accident whilst driving in flip flops last year, caused by one of the flip flops getting caught under the brake pedal. The whole scene was witnessed by a police car so the officers decided to pull her over and investigate. Wendy received an  on the spot £100 fine and was lucky to escape 3 points on her licence.

Snow boots

Richard in Banbury was stopped by the police for driving through a red light. The police suspected he had been drink driving (which he hadn’t) so they asked him to get out of the car. The officer then discovered he was wearing big snow boots so fined him for wearing dangerous footwear whilst in charge of a vehicle. Richard refused to pay the fine so the matter went to court. He was found guilty and fined £5000.

While technically there is no law that states what you can and cannot wear behind the wheel, Rule 97 of the highway code states you must have footwear and clothing which “does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner” and this paves the way for fines and penalty points.

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