No one wants to receive a letter, issuing a fine. These unaccounted for expenses can have a massive impact on your financial situation, causing stress and worry about finding the money to cover the costs.
Here, we’ve taken a look at some of the most common day-to-day fines and how to avoid them altogether to ensure you never receive one of those stress-inducing letters.
Speeding while driving
There are very few people out there who can claim to have not broken the speed limit at some point in their driving experience. However, being aware of your speed and what limit you should be sticking to on the road can help you avoid any unnecessary fines later.
Be aware of where speed cameras are along your route and ensure if you’re going through roadworks you are completely out of the speed restricted area before moving back up to the usual limit. Many people are caught out just before the restricted stretch of road ends, as they speed up when they see the limit changing.
How are speeding fines calculated?
Three things can happen if you speed, you may receive a verbal warning, be asked to attend a speed awareness course (you’ll have to pay for this yourself) or you may be prosecuted.
You will be sent or issued a speeding ticket, with the offer of a fixed penalty notice. You’ll need to decide if you simply accept the fine this comes with or fight against the ticket in court. A fixed penalty notice has a minimum fine of £100.
If you go to court to contest the ticket and lose or are prosecuted immediately for your speeding, how much you pay for a speeding fine is determined by your wages and how far over the limit you are. The maximum possible fine for speeding is £1,000 (£2,500 if you are caught on the motorway).
There are three speeding fine bands – Band A, B and C. Band A is for minor speed offences and B and C are for serious speed offences.
If you receive a Band A speeding fine, you will need to pay the equivalent of 50% of your weekly income, Band B requires 100% and B and C 150%.
The average UK salary is around £29,009. This means, if you were caught speeding at 65mph in a 60mph zone, you could pay a fine of up to £278.94 (or 50% of your weekly income).
Parking fines are particularly frustrating, especially if you’re dealing with an overzealous traffic officer, who jumps on your car as soon as a minute ticks over in a pay and display car park. Here are some common things people do that incur parking fines:
If you’ve parked in a pay and display car park or one that has a limited time offering for customers, ensure you’ve left before the time is up. Otherwise, you could be hit with a fine.
Sharing pay and display tickets
If you’ve parked in a pay and display and receive a paid ticket from another driver that still has time on it, this technically isn’t valid for you. While this usually isn’t picked up, if there is a traffic officer who sees you take a ticket from someone who is leaving, they could give you a parking ticket because you haven’t technically paid for your vehicle.
Parking outside allocated hours
Some parking spaces allow you to park between certain hours, leave your car outside of these and you could see yourself with a fine. Check for any signs in the area and ensure you’re not breaking the rules.
Parking on lined roads
We all know double yellow lines can’t be parked on but there are other road markings to avoid to make sure you don’t receive a fine.
Common road markings to avoid when parking
- Loading bays – These are usually signalled by broken lines and the words LOADING ONLY.
- Single yellow line – You’ll usually find a sign that states the times you are not allowed to park on this road, avoid leaving your car within these hours.
- Double and single red lines – These work in the same way double yellow lines do.
- School warnings – Many schools have areas where cars are not allowed to park, these usually feature yellow triangular lines and words: SCHOOL KEEP CLEAR.
- Bus stop – Avoid stopping in a bus stop even if you’re just dropping someone off, as you could be hit with a fine.
- Taxi ranks – If you park in a designated taxi rank then you could receive a fine.
- Keep Clear – Usually just these words are painted on the road so ensure you don’t park your car on them.
- Box junctions – Commonly seen in busy city centres, it’s unlikely you’ll come to a complete stop on these to park but be aware of them when driving in areas with high traffic. In London, if any part of your vehicle is over or on a box junction you’ll be hit with a fine. You’ll spot one by the bright yellow, criss crossed lines in the middle of an intersection.
Many of us are unaware of the large charges banks can apply if we have an unarranged overdraft. In fact, these fines are so significant – for example, you may have to pay £10 every day you’re overdrawn on top of interest charges and transaction fees – that new regulation is being introduced to ensure banks aren’t allowing charges to spiral out of control.
Keep a close eye on your bank account as the month draws to a close and ensure you can account for any payments that are due to come out. Move savings into your account if necessary to ensure you have enough in there and avoid those fees.
Amending details on important documents
For many of us, we pay for car insurance or home insurance or a contract with a mobile network. Some companies charge an admin fee if you need to change your address or name on your policy documents.
This is unavoidable if you’re already with a service but if you’re changing provider in the future, check for this and ensure they don’t charge you to make easy amends to avoid fines in the future.
Taking the kids out of school for a holiday
It can be very expensive when it comes to taking the kids away during the school holidays, however, as tempting as it may be to sneak them out while class is still in session it may not be worth it with the fine you may receive.
Some schools allow days of absence in ‘special circumstances’ and this must be pre-agreed, however a holiday doesn’t fall under this and so from the first day you take your child out of class you risk being issued a fine.
The amount of people receiving these penalty notices and fines for taking their kids out of school early has risen significantly in recent years – by 93% between 2017 and 2018! The amount you may have to pay depends on the council your school falls under but typically fines of £60 are charged per child and this can increase to £120 if it isn’t paid within 21 days.
Think before you take your kids out of school, the cost of these fines may not balance out the savings you make on a holiday just before the big summer break. Plus, you are breaking the law could be prosecuted!
Late payment fees
Some loan providers charge a £15 fee for late payments – this is not something Sunny does when you take on a short term loan with us. It’s definitely a charge to be aware of if you have a payday loan, so try to be aware of when your regular payments are due and check that your account has enough money in it to cover it. A charge of £15 doesn’t sound like much, but with interest on top and the missed payment to worry about it can cause issues.
Avoid these common, everyday fines by always thinking ahead, taking the time to check for issues and going out of your way to follow the rules. Your bank account will thank you for it!