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How to de-ice your car as quickly as possible

You could face a fine if you drive with decreased visibility

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 21 January 2020 11:35 GMT
UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

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Louise Thomas

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This week, it was reported that temperatures are expected to reach lows of -7C in some parts of the country this weekend.

Public Health England issued a cold weather alert, advising that individuals who are vulnerable, particularly "older people and those with heart and lung problems", stay warm in the sub-zero conditions.

In extreme weather conditions, knowing how to de-ice your car can ensure that you keep yourself and other drivers on the road safe.

It can also prevent you from causing any unnecessary damage to your car, which can occur if you try to scrape the ice off with the wrong equipment or apply boiling water to the windscreen.

According to an AA-Populus study, 12 per cent of drivers don't fully clear the ice on their car windows before driving off.

Here's how to de-ice your car safely and as quickly as possible:

Heat up your car

Before you start thinking about scraping the ice off your windscreen, it may be worth heating your car up to help it melt faster.

American roadside assistance company AAA recommends starting your engine while you're in the vehicle and setting your car's heater to defrost.

While doing so, turn the temperature nozzle up to full heat and check that the warm air is circulating around the car.

You must not go back indoors while your car engine is running, emergency breakdown company AA states.

If you have to go back indoors for any reason, switch off your car and lock it first before doing so.

Use a de-icer spray to melt the ice

Before you use a car ice scraper to remove the ice on your windows, another effective trick is to apply a de-icer spray to the ice to make it melt faster.

You must never apply boiling water to the ice, as this can cause your windscreen to crack.

"Never use just-boiled water to clear glass - it could crack the glass, freezes quickly and could ice your wipers to the glass," the AA states.

There are numerous de-icer sprays on the market that you can purchase, from brands including CarPlan and Blue Star.

You could also create your own DIY de-icer spray, insurance company explains.

The company recommends trying solutions of water and salt, water and vinegar or water and alcohol by spraying them on your windows.

When combining water with a teaspoon of salt, the company advises using the solution sparingly as salt can damage your windscreen and car paintwork when used in excess.

As an alternative, you can use combine one part water to three parts vinegar for an equally effective spray, or a mixture of one part water to two parts surgical spirit.

Scrape the ice off with a car ice scraper

If you try to scrape the ice off your car using a sharp object other than a car scraper, this could lead to either the object or your windscreen becoming damaged, explains car insurance company Keith Michaels.

Once your car has begun heating up, you can start gently chipping away at the ice using a car ice scraper.

According to the AA-Populus study carried out with more than 22,000 AA members, more than two thirds of drivers use a scraper.

Make sure you're not breaking the law

If the ice on your car windows hasn't been completely removed by the time you start driving, you could face the prospect of having to pay a fine as a consequence.

The UK government's guidelines outline that you "must be able to see" when driving, and so "all snow and ice" must be cleared from your windows.

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If the authorities find that you've been driving with limited vision during icy weather conditions, you may be given a £60 fine and have three points taken off your licence, states.

You may also have to pay a fine of £20 if you leave your car while it's defrosting with the engine on.

For all the latest news on UK weather, click here.

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