Seven tips to avoid fines and fees when driving

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UK motorists have been urged to improve their knowledge of the roads in a bid to avoid unnecessary costs and fines.

Experts from car leasing specialists LeaseCar.uk conducted research and came up with seven top tips to improve the nation’s motoring knowledge and driving ability.

Even experienced drivers can sometimes fall into bad habits such as lane hogging or failing to understand the rules around bus and taxi lanes.

But by investing a little time to improve their road knowledge the experts believe any driver can become smarter at handling the UK’s roads.

Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “Most drivers don’t give much thought to improving their road knowledge but we found even a few minutes a week spent researching things like bus lane restrictions is an investment worth making.

“Motorists should devote a little time to understanding the particular rules in their local areas so they don’t fall foul of obscure restrictions and find themselves stuck with a hefty fine.

“It’s also worth spending some time understanding some simple maintenance rules which can help prolong the life of a motor and reduce costs for the driver.”

Read more: How hard is it to pass your driving test at Leeds and Horsforth test centres?
Here are the tips from LeaseCar.uk to becoming a smarter driver.

* Knowing when to use bus lanes: Being caught in a bus lane at the wrong time of day could cost a driver up to £160, a costly fine for a minor offence. Adding to this anguish, drivers could still be fined if they moved into bus lane to get out of the way of a fast approaching emergency vehicle. Most motorists will follow their instinct to get out of the way as quick as possible but this could end up costing the driver a hefty fine. This is because road laws still apply in the event of encountering an emergency vehicle.

* Council car parks: Common sense prevailed in 2015 when a new law introduced allowed motorists who parked their vehicles in council owned space a ten-minute grace period after their ticket expired. This means drivers have more time to get back to their car without the fear of picking up a £70 parking ticket for being one or two minutes late.

* Lane hogging: Staying in one lane for too long on the motorway could end up with a driver being prosecuted for careless and inconsiderate driving. In West Yorkshire, a man was fined nearly £1,000 and given five points on his licence for hogging the middle lane. To avoid any risk of being caught for this offence drivers are advised not to travel in the middle or outside lane of the motorway unless they are overtaking another vehicle. It may seem simple but it could end up saving road users hundreds of pounds in unnecessary fines.

Read more: When can police legally stop your car?
* Check the tyres: Regularly checking tyre pressures could help Britain’s motorists save tens if not hundreds of pounds over time. Each vehicle comes with a recommended psi from the manufacturer which motorists should stick to by checking their tyres every month with a pressure gauge. Low pressures can have a negative effect on fuel economy as research found that a tyre 20% under inflated could cost drivers as much as £4 per tank of fuel.

* Avoid premium fuels: Premium fuel can have benefits, particularly for high performance cars, but generally most motorists won’t see huge improvements in their car’s efficiency. So, the advice is to choose standard fuel most of the time and treat your engine to the occasional tank of premium if you have some spare cash. While fuel prices regularly fluctuate, premium fuel tends to be 10p more per litre on average while in places in can be up to 30p more per litre. The extremely high prices mean filling an everyday car with premium fuel is just not cost effective.

* Advanced driving course: Taking part in an advanced driving course would be beneficial for younger drivers who have just passed their test but could still help more experienced road users as well. The courses are a useful way to gain experience on Britain’s roads in the most challenging conditions, such as night time. Taking part on a course may also help to reduce the costs of a driver’s insurance premiums.

* Understand warning lights: Drivers should make sure they understand each of the different warning lights that could come up in their car. Ignoring these could cause more damage to the car, they should always be investigated when they appear on the dashboard. When motorists get a new car, it is recommended that drivers always read the manual to fully understand the ins and outs of their vehicle.