It’s that time of year again and if there is one thing motorists should expect from an icy winter’s morning (apart from being super cold of course), it’s having to clear the windscreen before we set off on our journeys.
Here we list some of the fastest (and safest) ways to minimise any disruption with some easy tips to follow:
- Keep it covered
If you’re looking for the quickest way to battle icy windscreens, than covering your car with an anti-frost windscreen cover the night before should do the job in most situations. This should leave your windscreen clear in the morning saving you time and money. Win-win! You can buy these fairly cheaply or, as an alternative to a cover, you could try a towel, rug or rubber mat over your screen the night before. (Note that in very cold climates something like a towel might freeze to the windscreen if it rains heavily.)
- The classic de-icer spray and scraper combo
The real classic is the scraper and de-icer spray. Spraying the windscreen with de-icer before going at it with the scrapers while it melts can be a quick solution.
There are also homemade de-icer recipes out there if you fancy, like mixing a solution of water and salt before pouring on affected areas, however really do your research as some of these could be damaging in the long run. There are claims that salt and vinegar (both common recommendations when dealing with ice), however delicious on fish and chips, can be damaging to your car; views on this are mixed, however.
Remember not to scrape with anything that could scratch the screen like a bank card or CD.
- Turn up the heat
Turn on the heated rear windscreen and mirrors (if you have them). And get that air conditioning on to warm up the glass from the inside. It’s best to do this in combination with using scrapers and de-icer spray on the windows and front windscreen as that will make it a much quicker and more effective process.
- Don’t get into hot water
Never be tempted to use hot water to clear the ice. Seriously. Just don’t ever do it. The sudden temperature change puts your windscreen at risk of cracking plus hot water can actually re-freeze pretty fast. Instead use cool water.
- Stay with the car while the keys are in it…
Under normal circumstances, most of us wouldn’t wander off leaving our car running with the keys in it. Don’t do it just because it’s icy! Leaving your car running unattended while you wait for the screen to clear is just presenting thieves with a good opportunity to drive away with your vehicle. Plus insurance policies aren’t going to cover you if you’ve left your keys in an unattended vehicle.
- Get rid of ALL the ice
Whatever method you use, it’s important to defrost the whole windscreen and not just some parts of it. Although you may feel like you have clear enough vision, you really probably don’t, making you a danger to yourself and other road users. That patch of ice on one side of your windscreen might neatly hide a pedestrian about the cross the road before it’s too late.
There are other alternatives of course, some which work better than others, but beware any methods you choose aren’t going to cause damage to your screen or other areas such as paintwork.
Here’s to a safe (and hopefully not so cold) winter.
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