Five winter motoring tips you SHOULD ignore – or risk a £1,000 fine

World News

POUR boiling water on your windshield and use a credit card to de-ice are just some of the motoring myths that could cost you this winter.

As the temperature drops and the nights draw in, motorists should keep safety front of mind.

And while your friends and family might have plenty of tips for you when driving in the winter months – you might want to ignore some of their advice.

Some of the most common winter car tips could damage your car or even leave you at risk of a fine.

Here we round up some of the most common old wives' tales and why you SHOULD ignore them.

Pour boiling water on an icy windscreen

Boiling water might seem like the quickest way to melt ice on a frozen windscreen but it's also one of the riskiest methods.

It's a common but costly mistake that could set you back hundreds of pounds to fix or replace.

Glass is sensitive to sudden temperature changes and boiling water could cause the windscreen to crack or shatter.

But there are plenty of easy hacks to help you keep your windscreen clear – and you don't have to splash out on any fancy tech or gadgets.

Something as simple as laying a towel over your windscreen can do the job just as well.

Use credit cards or a CD to clear frost

When you're in a rush and can't find the ice scraper, it's tempting to grab the next nearest item to hand.

Plenty of drivers turn to their trusty debit or credit card, a CD or even cooking utensils to de-ice their windscreen.

While this might seem like a nifty tricky, you're at risk of causing permanent damage.

Using household items can scratch the glass or damage the rubber seals at the edge, which could cost hundreds to fix.

Do make sure you clear your windscreen though, as setting off in your car with your vision obscured could get you a hefty fine of up to £1,000.

Switch your fog lights on when it's misty

On a misty morning it makes sense to switch your fog lights on, right?

Maybe not. If you switch your fog lights on when it's not necessary, you could be slapped with a £50 fine.

Fog lights should only be turned on when your visibility is less than 100 metres – that's about the length of a football pitch.

The Highway Code says your lights should not distract or dazzle other drivers, and having your bright fog lights on could do just this.

Deflating tyres gives you better traction in the snow

Driving in icy or snowy conditions can be daunting and you might have heard advice that letting some of the air out of your tyres could help.

The theory behind this is that you're increasing the surface area of the tyre that's touching the road, giving you more control.

But this is not only false – it's dangerous and illegal.

Having your tyres at the wrong pressure will increase the wear and make a blowout more likely.

A properly inflated tyre will have better traction on the road, preventing skidding and letting you brake in good time.

For cars, the tread of your tyres – the grooves in the rubber – must be at least 1.6mm deep across three-quarters of the tyre’s width.

If your tyres wear down below this and you keep driving, you could receive a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points – per tyre.

If your car is stolen while it's left running, you're still covered

On a chilly morning, it's tempting to leave your car running while it's defrosting and head inside to keep warm.

But doing so not only puts you at risk of theft – it's actually illegal.

This is known as stationary idling and is an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

If you're caught, you could get an immediate £20 fine.

And leaving your car unattended could make it a target for theft.

If your car is stolen in this way, it is more than likely your insurance company will refuse to pay out on your loss, as you have invalidated your insurance by acting in a way which significantly increased the risk of your car being stolen.

 

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