As winter sets in across the UK, new research by breakdown expert, Green Flag, has revealed that, despite the dangers, a third of UK road users (36 per cent) regularly get behind the wheel without having fully de-iced their vehicle. Fed up of waiting for their windscreens to de-ice, over a quarter of UK drivers (26 per cent) say they have even driven with more than half of their windscreen restricted, dangering not only themselves but other road users in the process.
When asked why they set off without fully de-icing their cars, a fifth of respondents (19 per cent) revealed that it is actually lateness that is preventing them from being safe on the road, with many not leaving sufficient time in the morning to prepare their vehicle before setting off for the day. Other reasons included the fact that ice melts faster from the heat of the engine when driving (14 per cent) and drivers getting frustrated that it takes too long to completely de-ice their car (13 per cent).
Furthermore, 42 per cent of UK drivers only wait for their windscreen to clear, as opposed to waiting for all windows, mirrors and lights to be free of ice, before embarking on their journeys. The research has revealed that it is primarily young drivers (59 per cent), aged 25-34, who are choosing to drive with restricted vision.
It may be unsurprising that a third (33 per cent) of London’s residents say they have been involved in a collision as a result of a vehicle’s windscreen not being fully de-iced, whilst elsewhere a fifth (21 per cent) of drivers in Northern Ireland have seen the same.
But it seems the winter season can land drivers in trouble in more ways than one as over half of UK drivers (54 per cent) admit to leaving their vehicle unattended whilst waiting for it to de-ice, making them an easy target for vehicle theft, but also leaving a vehicle unattended could land drivers with a fine from £50. This approach may be due to the fact that over a tenth of UK drivers (12 per cent) don’t keep a de-icer with them in their car at all times in the winter. If your car is stolen while the engine is running then you are unlikely to get an insurance claim settlement either., since you did not take reasonable care by leaving the keys in the car.
Green Flag’s Do’s and Don’ts for de-icing your car through winter:
Do use a scraper. The most effective way of de-icing car windows is still with a scraper. It’s always best to use one that’s designed for the job.
Do try a de-icer spray. If you don’t fancy using a scraper, you can also use de-icer sprays, which are a quick and easy way of getting the job done.
Do de-ice all of your windows. Never drive looking through a porthole scraped in the ice on your windscreen. Hazards come at us from all angles when we’re on the road. It’s important that we can see all around us, so make sure you clear the ice from the side windows as well as the entire windscreen.
Don’t pour boiling water over your windscreen. It will certainly be very effective at melting the ice, but it’s also a very effective way of causing your windscreen to crack. If you’ve got a small chip or some damage that you may not have noticed, the boiling water will get into it and the sudden expansion will turn that tiny chip into a rapidly spreading crack.
For further information, see Green Flag’s expert advice for tackling a frozen windscreen here:https://www.greenflag.com/winter-driving/what-to-do-if-your-windscreen-is-frozen