The demands of work, family and leisure mean getting from A to B quickly is important to many of us. But when snow and ice arrive, we need to take more time and care to ensure our vehicles are roadworthy. In particular, when snow and ice obstruct our view of the road, it must be cleared.

What the law has to say

There is no specific law which states you cannot drive with snow on your car, but more general legislation and road rules mean that it is essentially illegal to drive with your view obscured by snow.

The Highway Code states that you must be able to see out of each and every glass window in your vehicle, no matter what the weather conditions.

Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 supports the Highway Code, stating that your view of the road must be clear before you begin your journey.

By extension, you are legally obliged to de-ice your windscreen on the exterior and demist the interior pane.

Driving with snow on the roof

The offences 'using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition' or 'driving without due consideration' are often used by the police to penalise motorists who drive with snow on their roofs.

For a quick trip to the shops or across town to see a friend, it might be tempting to leave snow on the roof and glass panels of your vehicle. But to do so means you run the risk of an encounter with the police.

It's a good idea to invest in a quality scraper and/or de-icer so you can quickly clear ice and snow from the surfaces of your vehicle.


The build up of water vapour in the atmosphere of your car is the cause of your windscreen misting up. Your body and your breath heat up the interior of your car, increasing the moisture. When this moisture lands on a glass panel it cools and condenses - creating the misty effect that obscures your view.


Keeping your view clear (and in general ensuring your car is prepared for safe use) should mean that if an accident does occur your insurer will pay out.

Lights, plates and mirrors

And don't forget, the law also requires you to keep your lights, plates and mirrors clear of snow and other obstructions.


If you are caught by the police failing to adhere to these rules, you could face a penalty of £60 and three penalty points.