Financial & Legal News

What happens if you fail to de-ice your Car

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With a winter of snow and ice ahead of us it’s always tempting to clear a tiny bit of windscreen and set off when rushing. Motorists should be warned that it is a motoring offence that could land them with more than just a fine.

“With temperatures falling below zero recently the task of properly de-icing your car becomes essential before driving and it is not just a case of ensuring your windscreen is clear, the Highway Code states that not only your windscreen must be clear of all ice and snow, by law, all other windows together with mirrors, lights and number plates must also be free from ice and snow,” warned Personal Injury lawyer Lisa Anderson.

Section 41D Road Traffic Act

The rules of the Highway Code are also supported by Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988.  This in fact states that before you set off driving it is a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead and failure to do so could land you with a fine, but more importantly could put your life of the lives of other road users or your passengers in danger.

“Further, if you are involved in a road traffic accident caused by your view being obstructed by ice, snow or failing to de-mist your windscreen on the inside of your car your motor insurers could withhold any pay out on the basis that you were at fault for failing to prepare your vehicle before driving,” added Lisa.

“It is also a requirement to bear in mind the environment and not leave your engine idling unnecessarily as by minimising this we can contribute less CO2 emissions and if you park your car on a public road, engine idling is illegal under the Road Traffic Act.”

De-icing Car Windows

And another word of warning, although tempting it is not recommended that you pour hot water on your windscreen as this may result in your windscreen cracking or in the water quickly freezing again and although there are several hacks flying around on social media, these should also be ignored as they are not always best practice.

“The best way to be safe and to make sure pedestrians are safe is to ensure that you drive your car away safely. In these freezing conditions it’s always best to be prepared, and either cover your windscreen overnight and/or use de-icer and a manual scraper,” said Lisa Anderson.

The Highway Code states that a car must be fully cleared of snow and ice on the windscreen in order to ensure safe driving. Failure to do so could result in a fine of £60 and three penalty points.

For legal advice on injuries involving snow and ice, slips and trips and how to make sure you do not get caught out call our solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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