Road safety: de-ice your car safely this winter to avoid accidents

Now that the colder months have arrived, data from our friends at MORE THAN shows that two in five (40%) drivers set off without fully de-icing their car. So why is it important to de-ice your car and what’s the best way to do it?

15 December 2021

As we head firmly into the festive period, the recent adverse weather conditions mean that drivers often need to spend extra time getting their cars ready for the road. But research from MORE THAN shows that many drivers aren’t spending as much time on this as they should be, with two in five (40%) admitting to setting off without fully de-icing their car. This trend is even more prominent among younger drivers, rising to 52%.

The main reasons behind why people set off without fully de-icing their windscreen are because they were in a hurry, with 42% using this excuse, and because they thought they could see well enough (36%).

While we may not like the idea of spending extra time preparing the car for the road before setting off, cutting corners can come at a huge cost. Driving without a clear windscreen can be dangerous, leaving drivers with reduced visibility and increasing the risk of accidents. So, even if you’re in a hurry, think about whether it’s worth the risk of damaging your car and potentially injuring yourself and others.

Debunking de-icing myths

The importance of de-icing your car is clear, but you can also damage your car by using incorrect de-icing techniques. Data from MORE THAN shows that one in ten (9%) drivers have damaged their windscreen while trying to de-ice it, and last year we saw 19% more claims for windscreen repairs in colder months.

There are some strange myths around de-icing your car, including using onions, sticks or potatoes to clear your windscreen. However, the biggest mistake you can make while trying to de-ice your windscreen is using hot water, as this can cause the glass to crack. Using windscreen wipers to try and clear ice is another common mistake, as this can damage your wiper blades.

De-icing top tips

So, what are the best ways to de-ice your car? MORE THAN have provided their top tips on de-icing your windscreen safely.

Factor extra time into your journey

It’s important to leave yourself plenty of time before traveling in the winter months. The most common reason why people don’t fully de-ice their car is because they’re in a hurry, so make sure you allow yourself enough time. It’s also important to assess the driving conditions before you leave and drive slowly when it’s icy and wet.

Heat up your car

Before you start considering scraping the ice off your windscreen, it’s worth heating your car up to help it melt faster. Turn the temperature up to full heat and check that the warm air is circulating around the car. We advise that you do not leave your car running if you’re not present in the car. If you need to leave, turn the engine off and lock your car before doing so.

Use a de-icer spray to melt the ice

If you’re looking to curb excess emissions, another effective way to de-ice your car is to apply a de-icer spray to the ice to make it melt faster. You can buy this in most major supermarkets and online. You should never pour boiling water directly onto the ice, as this can cause your windscreen to crack.

Scrape the ice off with a car ice scraper

Once your car has begun heating up, you can start gently chipping away at the ice using a car ice scraper. Avoid using other objects to scrape the ice off your car as this could lead to either the object or your windscreen becoming damaged.

Make sure to put your safety first

Your safety takes priority when it comes to driving. If the ice on your car windows hasn't been completely removed by the time you start driving, this can be extremely dangerous. You may also face having to pay a fine as the UK government's guidelines outline that you must be able to see when driving, and so all snow and ice must be cleared from your windows.