Whether you’ve just bought a car or want to be sure that your car is legal to be on the road, there are many requirements that you will need to adhere to in order to legally drive your car on UK roads and motorways. If your car isn’t road legal, you could face a hefty fine or worse if you are pulled over by the police, so it’s always worth double-checking that everything is up to date and above board. Here are some of the main things you’ll need in order to legally drive your car in the UK.
The Car’s Condition
First of all, think about the condition of the car. If you’ve got faulty brake lights, your tyres don’t have a minimum tread depth of 1.3mm, or you’re driving around with a crack in the windscreen, this is all illegal and you’re liable to be pulled over by the police and issued a fine.
Has your car had it’ yearly MOT? Currently, cars that are due for an MOT after the 31st March in the UK have been granted a six-month extension due to the coronavirus outbreak, but if your MOT was due before then and it’s not been done recently, then you are driving illegally. If your car is over three years old, it will need to have an MOT annually and pass this before you will be allowed to drive it again. The rules have also recently changed; you are no longer legally allowed to drive your car if the MOT has expired, even to the test centre, so it’s always best to book it a little bit in advance of the due date. You can check when your car’s MOT is due by entering your registration number here.
Is your car tax up-to-date? You can pay for tax either yearly, biannually, quarterly or monthly by direct debit. If your tax is overdue, you could be fined.
It’s illegal to drive your car on the roads without valid insurance. You should get insurance that covers your car at your home address and with yourself as the main driver. The penalty for driving without insurance is quite strict, and you may even face imprisonment.
Finally, are your registration plates legal? If you’ve still got the factory plates, then you should have nothing to worry about, but there are a few factors to keep in mind if you have or are thinking of getting private 3D registration plates. You’ll need to make sure that your new 3D number plates are registered to your vehicle with the DVLA and if you haven’t gone for dateless plates, they should not make your car appear newer than it is. Unfortunately, this means you can’t put ‘20’ 3D gel plates on a 2010 plate car! If in doubt, head to Number 1 Plates where you can customise and purchase your new private plates and find out more about what’s allowed and what isn’t.
Whether you’re buying a new car or just want to make sure that yours is above board, these are the basic legal requirements for driving in the UK.