Are you breaking the law when you de-ice your car? You could be hit with an unwanted fine

British motorists could be facing a fine over the winter for simply de-icing their cars. Find out why and our top tips for de-icing your motor without scratching your windscreen.

de icing

How can de-icing your car lead to a fine?

UK drivers across the country will be waking up to the unwelcome sight of a frost-encrusted car windscreen, but some of us could be hit with a £30 fine for simply trying to clear the white stuff.

Motorists who turn on their engine and leave the vehicle to de-ice while they head back inside for a cuppa are leaving themselves open to a fine and invalidating their insurance if their motor is stolen.

The Highway Code, Rule 123, 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’’.

Motorists are also leaving themselves vulnerable to opportunist car thieves. If your vehicle is stolen while you wait for it to defrost, it’s more than likely that you won’t be covered by your insurance.

Anything else I need to know about avoiding fines?

If you’re in a rush and just clearing the ice off the driver’s side of the windscreen, you’ll want to reconsider. Failing to clear snow and ice from every window of your car could leads to a fine and points on your licence.

The Highway Code, rule 229, in regard to ice and snowy weather, states:

  • you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
  • you MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
  • remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users

Although it’s not illegal to have snow on the roof of your car, if it falls off into the path of other motorists you could be penalised. Police could do you for driving without due consideration or using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition if they believe you pose a risk to other road users.

De-icing your car? You’ll want to avoid doing any of these

Although it may seem like the best option, pouring boiling water on your windscreen can have dire effects. When the temperature outside is cold, the sudden warmth of the boiling water could lead to your windscreen cracking.

You should also avoid using anything other than a car-specific scraper to de-ice your car. Not only can it cause your items to snap, it could result in your windscreen becoming scratched.

What are the best ways to de-ice your car windscreen?

The best way to de-ice your car is to use a car-specific scraper and some de-icer liquid.

Spray the de-icer onto the windows and windscreens of your car and give it a few minutes to do its stuff. Unfortunately, de-icer probably won’t do the whole job, so you’ll need to use a scraper to get the rest.

If you don’t want to pay out for de-icer, you can try mixing a solution of water with a teaspoon of salt and pouring that onto the affected areas.

Three parts of vinegar with one part of water should also work.


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1 comment for “Are you breaking the law when you de-ice your car? You could be hit with an unwanted fine

  1. Watchmanager
    December 29, 2017 at 8:45 am

    You’re correct in saying don’t put boiling water on your screen.
    However, I think you should also have said “or warm” water as well!
    If you are going to put water on then use cold water: The reason is that it is already warmer than the frozen glass and will melt the ice without damage.
    But better to use the methods already mentioned by APH.

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