THE DOS AND DON’TS OF DE ICING YOUR CAR
Spending time clearing your car of ice on a cold morning might not exactly be your idea of fun, but it’s important that you make the effort to do this right. Failing to de-ice your car properly could result in a range of problems, from points on your licence to an accident on the roads. So, to ensure you know what you’re doing when it comes to this important task, here are the dos and don’ts of de-icing.
DO…pour cold to lukewarm water on a frozen door handle
To help de-ice a frozen-over door handle, pour lukewarm or cold water over the handle to melt the ice. The ice will then become soft enough so that you can wipe it away using a sturdy rag or even with your gloved hands.
DON’T…pour hot water on a frozen windscreen
Pouring piping hot water onto your icy or frosted windscreen can cause cracks in the glass. What’s more, in extra cold temperatures, hot water thrown into the air actually turns into powder upon contact with the freezing cold air.
DO clear your windscreen thoroughly
Even if you are in a rush to get on the road you must ensure you clear your windscreen thoroughly. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts such as only clearing the driver’s side of the windscreen; doing this could land you in big trouble. Primarily not clearing the entire windscreen restricts your vision and possibly will increase your chance of being involved in an accident. As well as endangering you, this could put other road users at risk.
In addition, not clearing your entire windscreen could mean you get three penalty points on your licence and a fine of £60. By law, you are required to have a full view of the road and traffic ahead of your car. If you are spotted by the police driving with a partially obstructed view, you may receive a fixed penalty notice. Keep in mind that, as well as ensuring your windscreen is clear, you are required to clear your mirrors, lights and side windows.
Using a dedicated ice scraper will help to speed this process up, but you should give yourself around 10 minutes to clear your car. It’s also worth lifting your wipers before you set off to make sure they aren’t frozen to the windscreen. If they are and you switch them on while driving, you risk burning out the motor or tearing the blades.
De-icing sprays come in handy when you are clearing your car, but if you don’t have one of these sprays, you could use a solution of water with a teaspoon of salt mixed in.
DON'T leave your engine idling
You might decide to leave your engine idling on a cold morning to demist your windows and make your car warm. This can be a mistake though; leaving an engine running in a parked car on a public road is an offence under Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. If you do not turn your engine off when instructed, you could receive a fixed penalty notice of £20.
Although there are no rules stopping you from idling on private land, such as on your driveway, it’s generally not a good idea to do this either. As well as being bad for the environment and costing you money in fuel, leaving your engine running with your key in the ignition is a security risk. If your car is unattended with the engine on, it’s a prime target for thieves.
How to prevent your windscreen frosting overnight
Stop the winter pre-commute stress with this simple tip. Soak an old towel in a solution made up of water and table salt and then place it over your car windows the night before. As salt lowers the freezing point of water, moisture is prevented from frosting over on your screen. You can also make a frost-fighting solution by mixing one part of water to two parts of alcohol.
From making sure your windscreen, side windows, mirrors and lights are free of ice to sweeping snow from your roof, getting your car ready on cold mornings can take a while. It’s worth being aware that because driving conditions on very cold days tend to be worse, you should give yourself more time to complete the journey itself. If you set off in a rush, you’re more likely to take unnecessary risks and be involved in an accident. To help you stay safe on the roads whatever the conditions, you may want to invest in a set of all weather tyres (also known as all season tyres).
Find out more about these tyres by browsing our website or contacting our expert team.