Drivers face £40 fine for defrosting car windscreens with common mistake

DRIVERS who head back inside to keep warm while their car is de-icing could be slapped with a fine.

It's a common problem on a winter morning: the car is taking its time to defrost and you're getting colder as you wait for it to finish.

But if you're tempted to dash back inside to get a cuppa while you're waiting, it could prove a costly mistake.

Leaving your car unattended while it's still running could land you a fine.  

Under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, “engine idling” is illegal if your car is left on the street. 

According to the RAC, this is also covered in the Highway Code rule 123 – a driver must not leave a parked vehicle unattended. 

According to the rule, if a car is left on a public road then it needs to be stationary with the engine switched off. 

It also advises that this helps reduce emissions and noise pollution.

However, if you leave your engine running while it is parked on private land – a driveway – then this rule does not apply. 

Why shouldn’t you leave your car engine running? 

A fine is one major reason not to leave your car unattended.

The £20 fine could double if you don't pay straight away too.

But the RAC also points out that doing this leaves your car open to theft.

An unattended car with the keys in the ignition could easily prove too great a temptation for opportunistic thieves.

And you may find you're not covered by your insurance if your car does get stolen.

In many insurance policies, car theft isn’t covered if a key was left inside the vehicle when it was taken or if a customer left the vehicle unattended. 

Will I get fined if I don’t de-ice my car? 

Not clearing your car windows before could land you with a fixed penalty notice. 

Under Regulation 30 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, windscreens need to be clear and not obstruct the driver’s view of the road. 

Not keeping your windows clear could result in a £60 penalty fine and three points on your driving licence. 

You also need to make sure that all the car’s windows are clear – not just the front.

How to de-ice your car this winter 

The best way to clear ice from your car to avoid fines is by hand. 

The RAC suggests using an ice scraper and de-icer to remove frost from all windows. 

Lift up your wipers to check they haven’t frozen onto the windscreens. 

If you’re caught out without de-icer, RAC advises using a solution of water with an added teaspoon of salt to pour over affected icy areas.

You can also get a frost guard to put over your car windows to protect them against morning frost and ice. 

Halfords sells a winter kit that comes with what you need to de-ice your car by hand.


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