Motorists who fail to take winter weather conditions seriously could be jeopardising their car insurance cover.

Dave Williams, said with the weather worsening as winter really starts to bite, drivers could be completely unaware of the risks they were running.

“We’ve all been there on a cold and frosty morning when you’re in a rush and you haven’t got time to sit and wait while your car warms up and defrosts, so you leave it unlocked on the drive with the engine running.

“But as most policies have a duty of care clause in them, if someone jumped into your empty car and drove off, your policy would be invalid and the insurer would refuse to pay out.”

Dave said failing to de-ice and demist the whole car was another risk that most motorists had taken at some point.

“It’s a legal requirement that you have to clear any obstructions from your windscreen before you drive – and that includes ice. But it’s not only the windscreen you need to clear, it’s all the other windows and mirrors on your vehicle too, even if your car has parking sensors.

“And don’t forget about any snow on the roof of your car either. Travelling with a pile of snow on top of the vehicle could invalidate your insurance and even lead to a police fine.

“Snow on the roof can be a hazard for you and for other drivers too because the snow could fall off and block your vision, or the vision of other motorists, particularly if you’re driving at speed or braking.”

Dave said even winter outfits could lead to serious consequences for drivers who were wrapped up against the cold weather.

“It’s not against the law, but failing to wear the right footwear while driving is a breach of the Highway Code – so whether you’re wearing your winter boots or your Christmas party high heels, it could be classed as driving without due care and attention.

“Bulky winter coats, Christmas jumpers, and fancy dress outfits could all impede your driving when it comes to visibility as well as your ability to handle the steering wheel and other controls.

“And anything that affects your driving in that way could lead to a £5,000 fine and potentially three points on your licence.”