Are you breaking the law by defrosting your car?

Following the season’s first sharp drop in temperature, many of us might have to drag ourselves out of bed that little bit earlier to defrost the car. BUT, did you know that you could be at risk of breaking the law?

On cold mornings, it can be tempting to leave your car running while you nip back inside for a tea or coffee, but in doing so you might in fact be breaking the law. The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (rules 98 and 107) states that you must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road. Not only that, you are also putting your car at risk of being stolen – something which I’m sure your insurance company will also give you a cold reception for.

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Here are our top tips for a clear winter view

  • Before you even turn your engine on make sure your wipers are turned off. If you have an ‘auto’ function – make sure this is off too. If the wipers are frozen to the glass, the wiper motor could be damaged if they are turned on.
  • Turn your engine and heaters on (make sure the temperature is up too). If you have heated rear screen and mirrors, turn them on too. This will allow the heat to circulate and gently warm the glass. If you need to go back indoors, switch off and lock the car.
  • Never use boiled water. As tempting as it is, the sudden expansion caused by hot water and subsequent contraction as it cools can crack the glass and would not be a good start to your day!!
  • Use some de-icer and a scraper. It’s a task most of us hate but it’s actually a really effective and quick method to defrost your car.
  • Remove any snow. Use a soft brush to remove any snow. Again, it is illegal to drive with snow on your car as it can easily slide onto your windscreen and obstruct your view.
  • Don’t drive until all the glass is clear
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