Driving a Modified Car

Driving a Modified Car on British Roads

Those who enjoy driving a  Modified Car often find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Some would argue that this is unjust and a form of descrimination whilst others are clearly driving vehicles that aren’t aren’t safe to themselves, or to other road users (or they drive in an anti social manner).

But, this doesn’t mean that everybody who drives a modified car is a criminal in waiting. In fact, some Police officers themselves are known to be enthusiasts and are regulars at legally organised events. So, how does one stay ‘legal’.

The first point may sound obvious, but it needs to be said. Don’t be an idiot. If you drive a modified car and you drive it like an idiot or in an anti social manner, you’ll get yourself noticed pretty quickly, and once you’re known by the local Police, they may decide to keep an eye on you ongoing. ‘Being an idiot’ is doing all the things that make the real enthusiasts cringe; burnouts, drifting on the roads, un-necessary revving of engines/dump valves, or…running parts of your vehicle that is a potential danger to others.

Such ‘parts’ often involve wheels, or more precisely, the wheel and tyre fitment. It’s not uncommon to want to change your ‘stock’ ‘rims’ for something a little more interesting. In many cases it’s not even a major concern if you change the rim diameter slightly (but consider that your speedo may then be reading incorrectly as a result). BUT…if there is one thing guaranteed to rile a traffic cop, it’s a driver on tyres that are over-stretched across the rim. This seems to be a common craze at the moment on the ‘scene’ with youngsters in particular keen to show some exposed ‘lip’. Others do this when they’ve lowered their car so the wheels and tyres will more easily clear the wheel arch with ‘camber’. It may (sometimes) look good, but trust us…you won’t win friends in the constabulary this way.

Other ‘narks’ frowned upon by eagle eyed Police include dangerously lowered suspension, noisy exhausts (including ‘decatting’ where by a decat is removed altogether for more noise and gases flow), illegally spaced, printed or located number plates, tinted windows and lights which have been modified in such a way to cause a hazzard to others.

In others parts of Europe, and indeed America in part, it’s a lot harder to legally modify ones cars. We’re actually quite lucky over here in the U.K.

If you are into the ‘scene’, instead of meets in B&Q car parks late at night, often arranged at the last minute on Social Media whereby there is no liability insurance if somebody (yourself included) could get hurt, get yourself to a legally arranged event that isn’t held on the streets. You’ll meet like minded enthusiasts in a safe and controlled environment, and you may also learn a thing or so about styling.

Of course, ALL modifications should ALWAYS be disclosed to the Insurance company. The Police are within their powers to seize cars off the roadside if there is incorrect or invalid insurance in place.

The writer of this article is the owner of several modified vehicles and is a regular at legally operated motoring events across the U.K.