Don’t be a wisecrack when it comes to your windscreen.
When waking up to the outside world being a complete white wash can only mean one thing – an iced-up car.
The thought of firing up the car on the drive and leaving it unattended to defrost whilst preparing for the outside chill inside the warmth of your home sounds very appealing, although can potentially land you in hot water! Leaving your car unattended with its engine ticking over is an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which enforces rule 123 of the Highway Code, and could hit you with a frosty £20 fine:
‘You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road. Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution. However, it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults’.
Also, an unlocked, running car is an easy picking for a sharp thief, who wouldn’t be able to believe their luck by simply getting inside and driving away. Apart from losing the freedom from your car, it is more than likely you wouldn’t be able to make a claim on your insurance.
So as the phrase goes: things always happen in 3s, you could be hit with a fine, have your car stolen, and be the result of emitting twice as many emissions affecting the air we breathe! According to the Royal College of Physicians, approximately 40,000 people die every year in the UK from issues linked to air pollution.
However, there are cooler ways to defrost your car’s windscreen snappy and safely, but what you must not do is apply boiling water or use your credit card. The intense temperature difference of the water meeting the frozen screen could potentially lead to scratches or even cracks. A more sensible solution would be to consider the following:
• Road salt with an old towel – mix up a saltwater solution, immerse the towel, then place over the windscreen overnight. The ions in the salt will lower the freezing point of the ice, and thus, makes it tricky for the water to re-freeze. However, make sure the towel is held down safely and securely.
• Spray the windscreen – if the drenched towel wasn’t applied the previous night, spray the saltwater solution directly onto the windscreen using a plant sprayer.
• White vinegar and water solution – mix up 3-parts of white vinegar to 1-part water, and again use a plant sprayer to apply to the windscreen.
• Alcohol – mix up 2-parts of alcohol to 1-part water, and again use a plant sprayer to apply to the windscreen to allow defrosting.
With the defrosting process being the only tip of the iceberg, the next step is to use an ice scraper made of plastic with a blunt blade on one end, and a brush on the other. Using long strokes, make sure all the windscreen is free of the slush, so not to limit your vision.
The solutions mentioned above are cheap to achieve, and are the safer alternative.
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