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    • I'm at work now but promise to look in later. Can you confirm how you paid the first invoice?  It wasn't your fault if the signal was so poor and there was no alternative way to pay.  There must be a chance of reversing the charge with your bank.  There are no guarantees but Kev  https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/09766749/officers  has never had the backbone to do court so far.  Not even in one case,  
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    • Thank you. Such a good point. They did issue all 3 before I paid though. I only paid one because I didn’t have proof of parking that time, only for two others.    Unfortunately no proof of my appeal as it was just submitted through a form on their website and no copy was sent to me. I only have the reply. I believe I just put something like “we made the honest mistake of using the incorrect parking area on the app” and that’s it. Thanks again for your help. 
    • They are absolute chuckleheads. You paid but because you entered a different car park site also belonging to them they are pursuing you despite them knowing what you had done. It would be very obvious to everyone, including Alliance that your car could not have been in two places at the same time. Thank you for posting the PCN so quickly making it a pity that you appealed since there are so many things wrong with it that you as keeper are not liable to pay the charge. They rarely accept appeals since that would mean they lose money but they have virtually no chance of beating you in Court. Very unlikely that they will take you to Court given the circumstances. Just in case you didn't out yourself as the driver could you please post up your appeal.
    • Jasowter I hope that common sense prevails with Iceland and the whole matter can be successfully ended. I would perhaps not have used a spell checker just to prove the dyslexia 🙂 though it may have made it more difficult to read. I noticed that you haven't uploaded the original PCN .Might not be necessary if the nes from Iceland is good. Otherwise perhaps you could get your son to do it by following the upload instructions so that we can appeal again with the extra ammunition provided by the PCN. Most of them rarely manage to get the wording right which means that you as the keeper are not liable to pay the charge-only the driver is and they do not know the name and address of the driver. So that would put you both in the clear if the PCN is non compliant.
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Likelihood of a ban for inadvertently making a U Turn on dual carriageway ?


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Careless Driving is a very “subjective” offence, but the legislation says simply that if your driving falls “below that expected of a competent and careful driver” then you are guilty. Of course competent and careful drivers do not drive the wrong way on a dual carriageway.

The first judgement will come from the police. They have the option of offering you a course or fixed penalty (£100 and three points). Unlike speeding (where the offer of an out-of-court disposal (OOCD) is quite prescriptive based on the limit and excess speed) careless driving is not so clear cut and is very much judged on a case-by-case basis. However, the police use some general guidance and I I believe their current rule is that to qualify for an OOCD the incident there must be:

  • no victims
  • no collisions
  • no public complaint about the driving.
  • the incident must be observed by officers (rather than only the public)

In that respect it seems your incident may qualify. However, driving the wrong way down a dual carriageway is bordering on dangerous driving, as intimated by the officer.  Although there were no victims and no collisions this was more luck than judgement and probably more down to the good fortune that the police intercepted you before any harm was done. If there had been any other vehicles on your carriageway there would almost certainly have been a collision and the consequences of what would have been a head-on smash could have been catastrophic.

Your explanation of the event does little to mitigate the offence. I know you are not blaming the satnav instructions as such but you are giving them quite a bit of weight:

“…therefore I don't think following it's instruction was literally an act of carelessness or recklessness on my part.”

I would disagree. Following its instructions unquestionably is careless. This is especially so in the circumstances you describe. I know Junction 10 on the M25 very well. There have been major works in progress for some months and they are not due for completion until summer 2025. The junction is being completely remodelled and the new layout will cover a much larger area than the current arrangements. Different sections are often closed at night with diversions such as you encountered and it is impossible for satnav systems to be updated with the constantly changing relevant information. More than that, there is adequate signage from each of the four directions approaching the junction; there are narrow lanes and a restricted speed limit throughout. It is an extensive site involving major work. Quite simply, that vicinity – especially if you are re-routed because of road closures - it is not a place to depend on a satnav. You have to look out of the window. In my view, what you are saying actually aggravates the offence. Despite the obvious and apparent hazards, you still expected the satnav to see you safely through this major junction, even when it provided an instruction that was clearly inappropriate.

For all these reasons I would be surprised if the police offered you an OOCD. If they don’t, you will be prosecuted in court and here are the Magistrates’ Sentencing Guidelines for the offence:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/careless-driving-drive-without-due-care-and-attention-revised-2017/

You will see from that guidance that your offence does not seem to exhibit either “Higher Culpability “ or “Greater Harm” and so should be placed in the lowest category of seriousness. However, you should also note this:

“Where an offence does not fall squarely into a category, individual factors may require a degree of weighting before making an overall assessment and determining the appropriate offence category.”

You might argue that your offence falls squarely into Category 3. However, the guidance is exactly that and I have little doubt that if Magistrates hear that you ended up driving the wrong way down a dual carriageway at 1am and only stopped when intercepted by the police, they will almost certainly add their own “weighting” to the offence and will probably place it in Category 2. This will see five or six points and a fine of one week’s income (reduced by a third if you plead guilty).

"Also if anybody's got any idea of whether my observations about the sat navs inconsistent behaviour regarding turning people round on dual carriageways  ( ie using roundabouts on most of them but not this specific one), would be accepted as extenuating circumstances, - any opinions or comments from people, would be much appreciated."

The ideas I have are quite straightforward – they are not to be relied upon. The ultimate responsibility for his driving standards and any outcome resulting from them rests solely with the driver. This is especially so in the circumstances you describe, where it is clear (or at least should be clear to a competent and careful driver) that a satnav may not have all the most up to date information required. Any attempt to use the satnav’s instructions as mitigation will simply demonstrate to a court that the driver was not paying sufficient attention to his surroundings.

Of course all this is only my view, based on the brief description you provided. It would be helpful if you informed us of the outcome, to add to the forums knowledge base.

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Sorry, I didn’t quite get a handle on where this happened earlier.

I know the A31 quite well too but I can’t quite gather the details of your route. The B3001 meets the A31 south of the Hogs Back (at Farnham, in fact) and you would have to drive north (back towards the A3) to get to the Hogs Back, but you said you were driving southbound before you turned round. Ironically, if you were travelling southbound there and the satnav told you to turn round, you were being directed back to the A3 and precisely the area you were trying to avoid. Which is another indication of the perils of relying on satnavs. But it doesn’t really matter as far as your problem goes.

There is certainly one stretch of the A31 across the Hogs Back (in the vicinity of the Hogs Back Hotel) where the two carriageways are separated as you describe. I don’t know how you came to be on the southbound carriageway at that stretch – it makes no sense to me at all. But if that’s where you were, I agree that parts of the road there may, taken in isolation, give the impression of being  single carriageway. I imagine you were somewhere around here:

https://www.instantstreetview.com/@51.226533,-0.714861,287.57h,-5.42p,0z,I0xw6LgdEVIp9yCUkj_yKQ

As I said, I don’t know where exactly you might have joined the A31 southbound to approach the Hogs Back (the A31 begins a few miles further north, where it splits from the A3). But certainly at this point (north of the Hogs Back) it is clearly a dual carriageway:

https://www.instantstreetview.com/@51.226745,-0.695772,287.57h,-5.42p,0.42z,05spBYvtERib55HdiW5Pag

If you follow the GSV from there you will come to the stretch where I believe you turned round. But there is no indication, between those two points, that the road has become a two way single  carriageway. A little further on there is a junction with the road to Ash Green and it is clear at that point that the road is two lanes in the same direction (by virtue of the arrows in the road):

https://www.instantstreetview.com/@51.226733,-0.709591,287.57h,-5.42p,0z,cJ0qtfiZgThCa_GzPScb9A

A little further still (just after the “Hotel” signpost on the left) the road opens out again and the opposite carriageway becomes clearly visible. 

I drive that stretch quite often and have done so both during the day and at night and from my perspective there is absolutely no reason to believe the carriageway has reverted to both way running. As well as that, as you can see from the GSV shots, the road is quite narrow there and I was astonished to learn that you performed a U-turn in the dark on that stretch. 

If you do return to the scene, see if you can find any indication as you travel southbound that the road becomes a single carriageway. I’m sure you won’t. If you take this matter to court it will be tried in a Magistrates’ Court local to that area and the Magistrates will very likely to be aware of the road’s layout.

My view remains the same. You should not have performed a U-turn at that location and if the area was unfamiliar, you should have waited until a more suitable location to turn round was available. If you are offered a fixed penalty I should grab it with both hands as it is the best offer you will get. If it goes to court, I would recommend a guilty plea with as little said about why and where you turned round as possible.

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