North Lincolnshire motorists could be wasting fuel and risking fines in cold weather, research shows
Motorists in North Lincolnshire who are using their car engines and heaters to de-ice windscreens on freezing mornings are wasting fuel and risking fines, according to research.
A survey by Halfords has found eight out of ten drivers admit to regularly letting their car engine idle in order allow the warmth of the vehicle's interior to melt ice and snow during cold snaps.
The car accessory and garage operator estimates that the practice sees over £9 million worth of fuel squandered every day across the country – £54 million since the big freeze began last week.
Drivers who sit out on the street with the engine idling may also be unaware that they are risking a potential fine of £20 under government anti-pollution laws.
Halfords commercial director, Paul McClenaghan, said: "It may be very tempting to wait for the engine and heater to clear your windscreen, rather than walking around the car using an ice scraper and de-icer spray to do it properly.
"However, drivers who do this are literally burning money in terms of the cost of wasted fuel.
"Drivers using this method of defrosting have also probably not cleared their head or tail lights and may be tempted to set off without allowing the screen to clear fully if they are short of time – both of which pose a danger to other road users and may be breaking the law."
Clearing car windows properly with the right tools takes minutes, yet police across the country have again been forced to warn motorists about setting off with only a small area of windscreen cleared – often referred to as 'porthole' or 'pillar box' vision.
The Halfords study found that the average owner defrosting their car in this way spends four minutes with the engine and heater on in order to clear the ice and snow - during which time the car had used up to a third of a litre of fuel.
One in eight of the remaining drivers (12 per cent) admitted to using a credit or store card to scrape away ice, which could easily scratch the windscreen, while one in five continued to use boiling water despite the potential risk of cracking the glass.