While it’s tempting to start your car and let the heat do the work for you, that in itself can be an offence if the vehicle is on a public road (as opposed to your driveway), which could result in a £20 fine.
Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act of 1988 and rule 123 of the Highway Code states that “you must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road”. However, defining necessary or unnecessary could potentially be a defence; it was necessary to demist or de-ice the windscreen. It would take a particularly zealous police officer to book you for the offence.
Perhaps of more importance is the fact that any insurance company would likely refuse a claim if your car was stolen under the same circumstance; leaving your car to de-ice with the engine running unattended would likely be seen as a failure in duty of care – that you’ll take reasonable precaution to keep your vehicle safe.
Driving in winter
Driving in winter presents a host of new challenges that we in the UK aren’t specifically taught how to deal with, and no amount of ‘how-to’ articles will prepare you for the reality of driving in snow and ice. Best advice (when the weather is particularly inclement) is to only drive when completely necessary.
Should you find yourself in the position of having to make a journey, experts say that you should have a Winter Survival Kit prepared. This may seem extreme, especially if you’re confident of your abilities, but many times, drivers have found themselves stuck due to other motorists.
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