Mistakes Drivers Make When De-icing Cars in Winter.
AS winter approaches and the weather gets colder, many motorists face the chilly chore of de-icing their car in the mornings.
But drivers risk ruining their day with massive fines, penalty points or damage to their car if they make these common mistakes while clearing snow or ice from their vehicles.
1. Using boiling water
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when de-icing your car is using boiling water. As well as the risk of burns, the sudden change in temperature – from very cold to very hot – can cause your windscreen to smash. Even warm or tepid water could cause the glass to contract and crack.
Experts advise against using hot water to clear your windscreen.
2. Using a bank card
Your debit or credit card is tough, but wasn’t designed to scrape through ice and compacted snow. The plastic could snap or shatter, or you could damage the windscreen or windows, leading to expensive repairs.
Only use a scraper made specifically for the job.
3. Leaving your car running
It is against the law to leave a running car unattended on a public road.
It can be tempting to switch the car on, leave the heaters on full blast, and go back indoors while the ice slowly melts, but if you get caught by police you risk a fine. Even if you don’t get a fine, leaving your car running with the keys in the ignition puts it at risk of theft.
You could find that both the snow and the car itself have disappeared when you go back outside.
4. Only clearing a small patch
Some drivers try to save time by partially clearing their windscreen, either by scraping just the driver’s side or by only de-icing a small patch to look out of.
Police have nicknamed this “portholing”. This could cost you a fine and three points in your licence, as well as being dangerous.
You need to completely clear snow and ice from all the windows on your car before you set off.
5. Switching on the wipers
You should never try to clear snow and ice from your windscreen using the wipers. Doing so can damage the wiper blades.
If you have a car with an automatic wiper function, you should switch this off before starting the car so that the wipers do not activate by mistake.
6. Using your hands to wipe condensation
The inside of your car can get ‘fogged-up’ on a cold day. It can be tempting to just wipe the windscreen in front of you with your hand to get moving quickly. But doing so can leave greasy smears, and jewellery could scratch the glass.
Always use a lint-free absorbent cloth to clear the moisture from the inside of your windscreen and windows.
7. Leaving snow on the roof
Once you have cleared the ice and snow from your windscreen and windows, you may think it’s okay to set off. But motorists risk a £60 fine and three penalty points if they drive with snow on their roof.
If snow falls from a vehicle and causes an accident, you could be handed up to nine penalty points. You must remove any snow from the top of your vehicle before driving it.
8. Forgetting your number plate
Leaving your number plate covered with snow and ice is against the law and could leave motorists with a fine of up to £1,000.
Your number plate must be clean and legible before you set off in the morning.