WITH swathes of the country stuck in sub-zero temperatures over the weekend and a frosty outlook for the December days ahead, car owners have been sharing de-icing dramas - and tips, so are you de-icing correctly?

It’s so cold!

Are you even British if you don’t utter those three words at this time of the year? But yes, it is exceedingly cold, with much of the country hovering around zero or below even during the day and record-breaking lows recorded overnight for the year so far, with -9c recorded at Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway on Friday.

De-icing dramas?

The topic was debated on popular internet forum, Mumsnet, where one user said her neighbours - a retired couple in their 60s - were de-icing their cars at 10.30pm despite not going anywhere at that time. “It’s frozen solid here, road is an ice rink… for the past 45 mins, they have both been outside in -3c scraping ice”. Another poster said it was known as “pre-scraping”, although others said “pre-scraping” was pointless as it would simply freeze again overnight.

Many of us…?

Are unprepared and turned to whatever is it hand, including bank cards. According to data from MoreThan insurance firm, using a bank card was one of the top 10 methods drivers use to de-ice their vehicles, with around 21 per cent of motorists surveyed saying they had used the method at some point despite the risk of scratching the glass.


The RAC advise drivers to be prepared, warning that “thoroughly clearing the windscreen of ice is not the work of a moment. It could take around 10 minutes, not least because you'll also need to de-ice the side windows, mirrors and lights too”. They say “using a dedicated ice-scraper and de-icer will speed things up. Don't wait until the first frost before discovering you have run out of de-icer: plan ahead. Squirt the de-icer over the windscreen, before clearing the ice with a scraper.”

If you don’t have de-icer?

The organisation says you can use a basic solution of water with an added teaspoon of salt to pour over any affected areas. Another homemade remedy is adding the solution of three parts vinegar to one part water to a spray bottle as a homemade de-icer. Other top tips are windscreen shield covers or make-do cardboard ones.

There are loads of “don’ts”?

The number one is not to pour boiling water over the windscreen to avoid damage. Another viral social media "hack" involves pouring hot water in a zip lock bag and sliding it over the windscreen, but Autoglass say that "to avoid damaging your windscreen, you should only apply lukewarm water when you defrost", adding that "applying boiling water not only risks damaging the glass" but "in extremely cold conditions, hot water can freeze faster than cooler”.

It’s a risky business?

Fixed penalty notices can be issued by police for traffic offences such as being unable to see through the glass clearly. The Highway Code stipulates that if driving in adverse weather, you must be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle. Vehicle idling - leaving the engine running - is also an offence.

At the end of the day?

The simplest solution is to give yourself more time to set off on your journey as the windscreen must be clear.