Drivers face £40 fine for using their engine to defrost car windscreens

23 November 2021, 06:39 | Updated: 23 November 2021, 06:46

You could be fined for defrosting your windscreen with your engine
You could be fined for defrosting your windscreen with your engine. Picture: Getty Images
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

Motorists could face fines for leaving their engine running to defrost their windscreens.

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The temperature has well and truly dropped this week, with many forecasters even predicting snow in some parts of the UK.

But now drivers are being warned they could face fines of up to £40 for leaving their engine running to defrost their car's windscreen.

According to CarMoney engine idling is illegal under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, with The Highway Code confirming drivers should never leave their engines on for no reason.

Car experts have warned about leaving engines running
Car experts have warned about leaving engines running. Picture: Getty Images

The rule states: "You must not leave a vehicle's engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road."

If caught doing this, motorists may be hit with a £20 fixed penalty notice, with the penalty rising to £40 if the charge is not paid within a specific time frame.

Local councils may even add an additional fine on top of this, for example in London emission measures will bump this fine to £80.

Car finance experts CarMoney have pointed out the impact this could have on the environment, claiming that 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.

You can be fined for using your engine to de-frost your car
You can be fined for using your engine to de-frost your car. Picture: Alamy

Andrew Marshall, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at CarMoney, said: "Now more than ever it is important to be aware of our impact on the environment.

"By minimising car idling on our daily commutes, school drop-offs and simply waiting in traffic, we can contribute less CO2 emissions.

"Aside from switching to electric vehicles or hybrid car models, motorists can be more mindful of their idling habits by switching off their engine if waiting for long periods of time.

Car experts have suggested using a scraper and de-icer
Car experts have suggested using a scraper and de-icer. Picture: Alamy

He went on to suggest covering windscreens overnight to stop them frosting over, or using a de-icer and scraper.

"As winter approaches, lessen the need for idling whilst waiting for the windows to defrost by covering your windscreen overnight, he said, adding: “Or using a can of de-icer and a manual scraper to clear the windscreen."

According to Confused.com, the rules on idling only apply on public roads, so it is not illegal to do it in your own drive.

They said: “However, just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. You’d be chucking just as many toxic fumes into the air regardless of whose land you’re on.”