IT seems not many people know it but running out of fuel when you're driving is both dangerous and could result in a big dent in your wallet. 

Motorists could be fined up to £5,000, points on their licence and may also have to shell out repair costs.

Many drivers said they did not realise the consequences after the North West Motorway Police tweeted they had reported a motorist for driving without due care and attention for running out of fuel on the M62 near Warrington.

According to Greenflag, 70,000 drivers a month run dry on the road with the problem mainly being car owners overestimating how far their vehicle can travel when the tank is nearly empty.

Is running out of fuel bad for a car?

Greenflag says older cars can have debris that’s accumulated over the years at the bottom of the fuel tank.

A spokesman added: "There are filters designed to prevent this making it into the engine.

"It’s better those don’t get clogged as eventually this may impede the flow of fuel.

"The fuel also cools the fuel pump. But don’t worry, running out of fuel once shouldn’t damage the pump. Running out multiple times might.

"Of more concern is that you may struggle to re-start your car."

How easy is it to re-start a car that’s run out?

Again Greenflag says this really does depend on the car.

A spokesman added: "The fuel system will have got air in it when the tank runs dry.

"Once the tank has fuel in it again, when you turn the ignition on, the fuel system should be primed and ready to start.

"Turning over the engine should then purge the air. The engine might take a bit longer than usual to fire but it should start without any problems.

"On older pre-fuel injection cars it could be tricky to re-start, particularly if the carburettor had run dry.

"And some older diesel cars needed to have air bled from the fuel system after they’d run out of fuel."

Is running out of fuel illegal?

The RAC says while running out of fuel isn’t illegal in itself, any careless or dangerous driving that results from it could see you punished by law. 

A spokesman added: "You could receive a penalty of £100 and three points on your licence if you are forced to stop in the road and cause an obstruction.

"In cases where your empty fuel tank leads to an accident, as well as putting yourself and other road users at extreme risk, you could be taken to court, or issued with 9 points and an unlimited fine."

What is the punishment for driving without due care and attention?

In many cases, driving without due care and attention will result in a fixed-penalty notice (FPN).

This usually means three points on your driving licence and a £100 fine, although some police forces may offer a driver education course as an alternative.

If you disagree with the FPN, you can request a court hearing. However, this could increase your costs if the judge doesn’t find in your favour.

If the offence is more serious (i.e. if you have endangered other drivers or pedestrians, or caused an accident), you will automatically be summoned to court.

The maximum penalty here is nine points on your licence and a £5,000 fine – or you may be disqualified from driving altogether.

The consequences are potentially more serious if you are still within two years of passing your driving test.

Any more than six points within your first two years of driving means an instant ban, plus the requirement to retake your theory and practical tests.