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Time to clean up or pay up… with GEM’s grime-busting road safety tips

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· Mud and dirt are everywhere on the roads at the moment

· Don’t risk an incident due to a grimy windscreen, headlights or numberplates

· You could be fined up to £1000 or gain three points for not cleaning up

We're urging drivers to clean dirty windscreens and muddy headlights, as recent heavy rain continues to bring large amounts of mud and debris onto road surfaces. Dirt can reduce visibility, as well as reducing headlight effectiveness and making numberplates difficult to read, says GEM.

Motorists who drive around with dirty numberplates risk a £100 fixed penalty, or a fine of up to £1000 if the case goes to court. Dirt on your windscreen reduces your ability to see the road ahead, and could land you a £100 penalty with three points on your licence, according to GEM.

“Cars don’t stay clean for long during wet winter weather,” says GEM road safety adviser James Luckhurst. “Layers of dirt build up quickly on car lights, numberplates and windscreens.

“It’s vital to remove this dirt, so that you retain the best possible view of the road ahead - and behind. This is the time to be making daily car safety checks, to ensure your visibility is not compromised by dirt.”

Operation Clean Up: use GEM’s grime-busting tips to stay clean and safe

Top up your washer bottle

If you’re covering lots of miles, you will get through a large amount of water on a journey during the current dirty conditions. So don’t wait for the warning light – check and top up as often as necessary.

Wash, wipe, rub and scrub

It’s hard to believe how quickly dirt builds up on a car at this time of year. Before every journey, take time to remove any excess dirt and ensure all the lights and windows are free of grime.

Wiper blades

Don’t use your windscreen wipers to clear ice as you risk wearing out the blades and causing stress and damage to the operating system. Equally, don’t use wipers to shift dirt if the windscreen wash is empty or frozen. Stop somewhere safe and clear the windscreen properly.

Clean underneath

The underside of your car is particularly vulnerable to attack from salt and dirt. Give it a regular hosing to minimise the chances of any damage, and hose off any excess mud from brake discs.

Take it easy

Reduce speed and giving yourself more time to complete your journeys. By slowing down you will reduce the risk of skidding due to sudden manoeuvres. You will also reduce the spray and muck that’s thrown up from your wheels.

Keep your distance

Don’t follow too close behind lorries and other heavy vehicles. This is not only safe and prudent but it will also reduce levels of salt, dirt and other mess that gets sprayed onto your car.


Did you know? 

When you buy GEM breakdown cover, you get GEM membership included. 

One of the benefits of GEM membership is our exclusive quarterly motoring magazineGood Motoring, which is delivered directly to our members' doors four times a year.

Request a free sample copy of Good Motoring magazine by emailing us at, providing your full postal address.

By requesting a free copy of Good Motoring, you consent to us using your postal address for this purpose. Your details will not be kept on file thereafter.

Keep up to date with GEM Motoring Assist at:

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LinkedIn: @gem-motoring-assist-limited

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