How to de-ice your windscreen & avoid a fine: Expert tips on properly defrosting your car on winter mornings

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For those morning risers already 15 minutes late for work - here’s some expert tips on de-icing your windscreen during the cold snap.

If like us, you’re frustrated at the arduous task of de-icing your windscreen during these winter mornings, listen up. Here’s an expert list of dos and don’ts when it comes to defrosting your car.

Many thought they had seen the back of the extreme weather of December but it’s important to remember… We live in Britain, and it’s January. With frosty mornings going nowhere fast, drivers are having to face a winter panic as they rush to clear their windscreens before work every day.

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To help you get the job done efficiently and, more importantly, with safety in mind, roadside assistance and breakdown insurance company RAC has released its tips for de-icing your car in the morning to help you avoid a fine for driving without properly clearing all your windows.

Expert tips on de-icing your windscreen in the winter

Leave at least 10 minutes…

Now this might be exactly the reason you’ve stumbled upon this video but the harsh truth is - the more time you leave yourself to de-ice your windscreen, the more successful the job will be and the lower the risk of driving with obstructed mirrors.

By giving yourself at least 10 minutes, you can thoroughly use a de-icer or scraper to clear the windscreen.

Keep a bottle of de-icer

When you get to your ice block of a car in the morning, having a handy bottle of de-icer wll be a saviour. Firstly squirt a generous amount of liquid on the outside of the screen and then proceed to use an appropriate scraper (not a bank card, key etc) to clear ice crystals and excess water.

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Do NOT use a kettle

You might have seen it on Tik Tok or may just think it sounds like a plausible idea, trust us… it’s not. To avoid the thermal shock that can lead a windshield to crack, it’s much better to use the trusty combination of a scraper and de-icer.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have issued advice for being around frozen water.North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have issued advice for being around frozen water.
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have issued advice for being around frozen water.

A new trend has emerged online of people putting warm water in a ziplock bag and lightly pressing and rubbing it across their windscreen. If you are set on doing this, avoid using water from the kettle and go for warm water instead.

DON’T wipe the inside of your windscreen

As many can attest from personal experience, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you want to preserve the clarity of your windscreen. Instead, use your heater to demist the inside of your windscreen.

Heat from cold to hot 

To clear a misty windscreen caused by hot, wet air, start your heater off cold and then slowly increase the temperature. This is the most effective way to de-mist your frozen car in the morning.

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Check all mirrors

If you’ve sorted your windscreen, don’t drive off until you’ve also checked your rear, side, and door mirrors too. It is illegal to drive with poor visibility and you’re never just dependent on your windscreen.

Windscreen wipers are prone to getting frozen Windscreen wipers are prone to getting frozen
Windscreen wipers are prone to getting frozen | DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Buy a windscreen cover

To minimise a frozen windscreen, plan ahead by buying a windscreen cover and place on your car the night before.

Avoid using the wipers

It’s easy to think it’s just the glass on your windscreen that gets frozen but your windscreen wipers are prone to a bit of frosty too. Try to refrain from using the wipers until you’ve de-iced the windscreen or else you risk damaging them or burning out the wiper motor.

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