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Leaving your car unattended while it defrosts is breaking the law and could invalidate insurance

Joe Harker

Published 
| Last updated 

Leaving your car unattended while it defrosts is breaking the law and could invalidate insurance

It's that time of year again where you need to break out the scraper and set your car running as early as possible to help it shed the layer of ice it's built up overnight.

The weather forecast is not exactly predicting a clear and toasty time right now, and depending on whereabouts you live it could be as serious as severe ice and snow.

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With that in mind it's always handy to keep an eye out for the latest warnings from the Met Office as there's still a couple of months to go until Spring has well and truly sprung.

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Obviously you don't want to be driving around with a layer of ice or frost coating your car and obstructing your vision, so if you wake up to a frosty motor you'll need to clear it off.

One of the quickest ways to do that is to set the car running as the heat from the engine will help defrost the car, and there are settings you can use to melt away the ice.

It can be tempting to just set the engine running earlier than you need to and then pop back inside to complete your morning routine before the commute, but this is a bad idea.

Have fun thawing that out, and try not to break the law in the process. Credit: Porridge Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
Have fun thawing that out, and try not to break the law in the process. Credit: Porridge Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
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Doing this can land you in all sorts of bother if you don't have the patience to stay with your vehicle and instead leave it running.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, insurance specialist Matthew Stokes of Motorcycle Insurance warned that now is the prime time to end up in some sort of trouble because you left your car defrosting.

On top of that you could end up invalidating your insurance if you make a simple slip up at this point, so be aware of what your responsibilities are.

He said: "Whilst it is not illegal to drive in bad weather, drivers can have their policies suspended due to a number of reasons, including leaving a car unattended whilst switched on or forgetting to clean the snow off the windscreen, number plate and roof.

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"With cold weather and snow predicted this winter, people should be very careful if they have to venture out in bad weather and should only do so if absolutely necessary."

"A red warning does not mean that your insurance will be invalid if you drive, but it could be if you are not driving within the law."

If you don't want to break out the scraper you could use your car's engine to clear the ice, but be careful. Credit: Philip Dunn / Alamy Stock Photo
If you don't want to break out the scraper you could use your car's engine to clear the ice, but be careful. Credit: Philip Dunn / Alamy Stock Photo

There's also the much higher risk of getting your car stolen if you set it running but leave it unattended while it defrosts, as pretty much anyone could try to get in and drive it off.

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Calling it 'frost jacking', he warned that getting your motor running but leaving it unattended rather than heading out on the highway runs a much higher risk of having it stolen by some enterprising thieves.

He also pointed out that according to the Highway Code a driver 'must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road', meaning leaving your car to defrost means you can be breaking the law.

If you don't want to get your car nicked, break the law or spoil your insurance then it's best to just spend a few minutes staying with it rather than setting

Featured Image Credit: nidpor / StockimoNews / Alamy Stock Photo/Sam Holiday / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: UK News, Cars, Weather

Joe Harker
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