Drivers warned they could face fines for common windscreen de-icing trick

Motorists could face fines for a common trick used for de-icing their car during the colder months.

There are a wide range of fines drivers should be wary of over the winter, as the Highway Code attempts to keep people safe on the roads.

As the air turns chillier over the winter, drivers are more likely to be faced with an iced up windscreen when going to their car to drive for the first time in a while.

It is therefore important to get rid of the ice so your visibility is at a maximum before you set off on your journey.

A common way of removing ice from a windscreen could land people in hot water and, as Christmas approaches, we've got the lowdown on what to look out so you can avoid fines.

Why could I face a fine for de-icing my windscreen and how is it breaking Highway Code rules?

Even though the Highway Code threatens fines for unsafe driving, which could mean people face penalties for not being able to see out of their windscreen, drivers could still face fines for de-icing their windows in a certain way.

One common way to de-ice the window screen is by 'idling' or leaving an engine running. This is not great for the environment, but as the car warms up the ice does tend to clear.

However, the code also states that drivers should never leave their engine on for an unnecessary reason, which de-icing your car is likely to fall under if caught.

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Under rule 123 of the Highway Code: "You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road."

How much are the fines for leaving your car's engine running while de-icing your car?

Motorists could face a fine of £20 for idling their engine due to breaking Highway Code rules. This could go up to £40 if not paid in a specific time frame.

Local councils may add additional fines on the top of this and new emissions rules in London could hit drivers with £80 fines.

Fines are in place to encourage people to not leave their engine idling as this is bad for the environment, but are only imposed if a motorist refuses to switch off the engine when ordered to do so by the correct authorities.

The Royal College of Physicians estimates that 40,000 people are killed every year due to air pollution and engine idling does not help with this.

The RAC said: "Idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. These fumes contain a number of harmful gases including carbon dioxide, which is bad for the environment."

What can I do instead of idling to de-ice my car's windscreen?

The rules apply only to public roads, so it can be done at home or in the supermarket car park. However, this does not mean it is the correct thing to do.

Andrew Marshall, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at CarMoney said to the Express : "Now more than ever it is important to be aware of our impact on the environment.

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"By minimising car idling on our daily commutes, school drop-offs and simply waiting in traffic, we can contribute less CO2 emissions."

"As winter approaches, lessen the need for idling whilst waiting for the windows to defrost by covering your windscreen overnight, or using a can of de-icer and a manual scraper to clear the windscreen."

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