With temperatures dropping below freezing for parts of January and an incoming cold snap expected to batter the UK, drivers are being warned. Although it may be tempting to leave the car running to defrost to save time on their commute, motorists could be risking fines.
By leaving the engine running, most motorists would try and use the heat to clear frost or condensation from their windscreen and window.
However, this releases emissions from the tailpipe and causes environmental damage, which could set drivers back £80 if fined.
According to new data, more than half (51 percent) of UK motorists are unaware that they could face fines of up to £80 for leaving their engine idling when defrosting their windscreen in cold weather on a public road.
Defrosting a car’s windscreen is a common chore in winter, with Škoda research finding that a third (35 percent) of motorists spend between five and seven minutes on average doing it.
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He said: “Your insurer may refuse to pay out if you have left your car unattended while the engine is running.
“Keys are the weakest part of a vehicle’s security, and most policies have a clause that you agree you will not leave your car engine running whilst unattended.
“This is because it is seen as negligence and drivers are seen as not taking precautions to prevent theft, potentially making your insurance void.
“In minutes of heading back into your house and leaving your vehicle unattended, motorists could see their vehicle stolen, with the vehicle and any possessions being uncovered by your insurance, costing thousands to replace and having a huge impact on the individual or business.”
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Nearly three-quarters of UK drivers are also unaware that electric vehicles can be preconditioned via an app to defrost the screen before they even get into their car on a frosty morning.
Using the Škoda Connect app or by setting the parameters on the infotainment system, the Škoda Enyaq iV can be preconditioned to defrost the windscreen, heat the cabin, and prepare the battery in cold conditions so that it is ready to drive for a scheduled time.
Drivers who keep the charging cable connected when preconditioning the car, avoid drawing energy from the battery and ensure the maximum possible driving range when they set off.
Motorists could save up to 10 minutes a day by using the preconditioning feature of Škoda’s electric cars.
Under some vehicle cover policies, drivers may be able to claim for the cost of possessions left in their vehicle when it was stolen.
For business vehicle cover it may allow them to claim the cost of equipment, tools, and even stock for business purposes.
Mr Smith added: “Additionally, it’s not enough to just clear the ice from the driver’s side of the windscreen, with the entire area having to be clear.
“Failure to do so can land you with a £60 fine with three points on your licence, according to Highway Code rule 229, with an additional fine of £1,000 if your registration place is not readable.”