Defrosting your windscreen
How do you defrost your car windscreen? Did you know there’s a right way?
Drivers across the UK are being warned that they could receive a £60 fine for defrosting their windscreen incorrectly before making even a short journey this winter. Removing frost, snow or ice from your windows, headlights and mirrors can leave you out of pocket if you don’t do it in a way that satisfies authorities.
If you attempt to make a journey with only a small portion of your windscreen cleared – known as “portholing” – you could be pulled over by the police, who will promptly slap you with a £60 fine and three penalty points.
According to the Highway Code, motorists need to adhere to a strict checklist before beginning their journey.
All drivers 1) MUST be able to see, and should clear all snow and ice from all their windows,
2) MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible, and
3) should make sure their mirrors are clear and their windows are demisted thoroughly
Fortunately, Meteorologist Ken Weathers has concocted an excellent de-icing solution to help drivers avoid a ‘portholing’ situation.
According to Mr Weathers, his de-icing solution is made by mixing 1/3 cup of water with 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol (with a freezing point of -128C, which means it can be stored safely in the car all year). The solution should be applied using a spray bottle to make things quicker and easier for motorists hoping to clear their windscreens fast.
However, visibility isn’t the only issue for drivers this winter. You can also be fined £60 if you fail to remove snow from the roof of your car before beginning your journey, as loose snow can potentially interfere with other drivers and create dangerous situations.
Taking time to remove frost, ice and snow from your car in the morning may seem tedious to many (especially those who start work early during those cold winter days), but motorists should refrain from leaving their cars running while they get themselves ready to leave.
That’s because leaving your car running unattended can invalidate your insurance, while also leaving it vulnerable to opportunistic thieves.
According to Rule 123 of the Highway code outlines, “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.”
According to the Express, “motorists could invalidate their car insurance premium if they are found to have left it unattended. Similarly, if the motorist has their vehicle stolen as a result of leaving it with the engine running, then the insurer could refuse to pay out for a claim.”
The director of comparethemarket.com, Simon McCulloch, explained that, “A running car with the keys in the ignition is a thief’s dream.
"Early rising drivers need to have their wits about them in the morning and not be fooled into thinking a frosty start is safer than any other time of the day.
“With icy weather fast approaching, it is an easy mistake to make to leave your car defrosting with your keys in the ignition while you pop back inside the house to warm up.
"Despite the cold temperatures, it’s always best to remain with your vehicle, as if it’s stolen whilst it running and is unlocked and unattended, it will almost certainly result in the claim being refused by your insurer.
“Furthermore, it is actually an offence under the Road Traffic Act to leave a vehicle idling whilst stationary, and could result in a fine”.
However, for many drivers, defrosting the windscreen could become an almost-daily occurrence this winter, especially if more particularly cold spells sweep across Britain.
Matt Oliver of GoCompare Car Insurance told the Express that, “By law you have to de-ice and demist all of your vehicle, however, depending on how drivers go about this, they could find themselves without cover.
“Despite the freezing conditions, motorists will not be covered if they leave their vehicles unlocked and unattended while de-icing their car, especially if they leave their keys in the ignition.
“This is due to most policies having a duty of care clause.
“So, while it might be tempting to stay inside the house as the car warms up and demists, if someone were to jump in the car and drive off with it, you wouldn’t be covered. So maybe it’s just better to get thermals on instead.”
So this winter, take the time to fully remove all snow, ice and frost from your car before setting off on any journey. Make sure your windows, mirrors and headlights are clean, and your vehicle isn’t inadvertently transporting any snow.
And of course, take care to avoid “portholing” this winter season.
For more information contact Absolute Reg.