ACROSS the UK, temperatures are at their lowest for an age – and that means windscreens are extra tough to defrost in the morning.
But with a few basic tips, you could have your car raring to go after just a few minutes.
Still, be warned about quick fixes and ‘genius’ hacks which claim to solve all your problems.
Spoiler alert, they usually don’t. And falling for them could cost you.
Under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, “stationary engine idling” is an offence punishable by a £100 fine or three penalty points on your licence.
In layman’s terms, that means don’t leave your stopped vehicle running on a public road longer than it strictly needs to.
Here are our top tips for sensibly cleaning your windscreen before setting off during cold season – and making costly stoppages like that as rare as possible.
Use your ice scraper properly
Don’t trust the shortcuts: a good old-fashioned ice scraper is your best friend.
The AA’s head of roads policy, Jack Couzens, told us: “By far the best way to fully clear your windscreen and windows of ice is to spend five minutes scraping them clean with a scraper.”
However, that’s not the end of it.
Using an ice scraper can damage your windscreen if you’re not careful.
Be gentle and don’t overpay for a fancy glass or metal alternative – that could just break your glass instead of clearing it.
Don’t stick the kettle on
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised.
Kettles have become popular car service tools – and for all the wrong reasons.
The RAC has warned about the consequences of hot water on glass, which can crack your windscreen immediately and leave you stranded.
A spokesperson said: “The thermal shock of going from sub-zero temperatures to nearly 100C in a matter of seconds can crack your windows.”
Leave the kettle for your cuppa.
Park facing east if you can
If you’re fortunate enough both to have access to space facing east and get to leave the house after it’s finished getting light, this one can do your job for you.
With the direct line of the sun’s rise melting away the frost for you, fears of a clouded windscreen – and scary penalty fees – might be no worry.
But it won’t work for everyone.
AA roads adviser Couzens added: “Many drivers will set off before the winter sun rises or even has a chance to burn off ice, meaning it makes no difference which way the car faces.”
Take your time
Rushing your journey can cause poor driving and accidents.
It can also lead you to a hefty fine if you’re not careful.
Always switch the car on and its heating to get the windows as clear as they can be – and wait next to your vehicle while the frost washes away.
Leaving your car unsupervised while you wait for it to warm up is a sure-fire way to get your car stolen – or face a fine.
The AA advises: “Thieves see frosty mornings as a Christmas gift, looking out for defrosting cars that have been left unattended with the engine on.”
So take it easy, get ready on time and don’t let yourself rush a crucial step in the process.
Add de-icer to your washer fluid
Many motoring blogs list ways to clear your windscreen “without chemicals”, but there’s not much point in going for an organic option.
Making sure your washer fluid has de-icer will make it more effective in getting rid of frost.
What de-icer liquid does is affect the acidity of your windscreen fluid, meaning it’s less likely to freeze and cause further trouble on your front window.
It’s a small change to your driving routine, but it can make a huge difference.
Remember the roof
You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget clearing snow off your car roof – until it happens to you.
Spending ages de-icing the windscreen only for you to set off and have a pile of snow pour onto the front is an excruciating feeling – and quite embarrassing too.
For those reasons – plus safety, of course – don’t let it happen.
We’ve listed some essential winter driving tips to keep in mind this winter – and save you money.
Plus the ones you must ignore.
And if it’s an automatic you’re behind the wheel of, don’t fret.
We’ve explained how to safely navigate winter roads in an automatic.
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