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Motoring Advice

How to De-Ice Your Windscreen

frosted windscreen

Published 3 October 2016


While the UK winters aren’t as cold or extreme as many other parts of the world, we are still subjected to freezing temperatures and the odd snowfall.  It’s these adverse weather conditions that can wreak havoc on the roads and driving conditions and also cause many of us to put ourselves and others at risk.

The Law on Winter Driving

There are numerous drivers who, for whatever reason, will set off on a journey in their car without properly clearing all windscreens and windows of snow afrosted windscreensnd ice. This is not only dangerous as it restricts your view of the road, but it is also against the law. The Highway Code clearly states that driving in extreme weather conditions you must clear all ice and snow from all windows, remove all snow that might fall onto the road and ensure lights and license plates are clearly visible.

So why is it then that in winter, we feel we can scrimp on these safety measures? Is it a time thing? Is it lack of knowledge of the law? Or is it that we don’t know the proper way to de-ice a car?

Well, the honest answer is likely to be a combination of all three.


Prevent Your Windscreen From Icing Up

Like with so many things – the best way to deal with defrosting your windscreen is to avoid having it freeze over in the first place.

  • If you have a garage, use it in winter because it’ll stop your car from getting iced-up.
  • If you don’t have a garage, park your car on your driveway close to the house. The heat from your house can help to stop ice forming.

Home Made Spray

  • Mix 2/3 parts white vinegar to ⅓ part water.
  • Spray this mixture on your windows before the temperature drops in the evening.

This solution should prevent your windows icing up so you can avoid having to defrost your car windscreen in the morning.


  • Cover your windscreen and rear window with some cardboard or purpose-made covers (that come with attachments).
    • Cardboard can be secured  in place with your wipers.
  • Cover your mirrors with plastic bags that you can secure with elastic bands.


De-icing techniques to avoid

  1. Metal scrapers can scratch the glass and damage wiper blades.
  2. Pouring hot or even lukewarm water on the glass can cause it to crack.
    1. On very cold days, the water could turn to ice before you know it – as warm water freezes faster than cold water.
    2. If it refreezes, it’ll create a layer of ice on your windscreen (and on your driveway if you’ve spilled any!)
  3. It is tempting to start the car engine and leave it running to defrost your windscreen while you stay warm in the house.  However, if your car was stolen while unattended you would not be covered by your insurance policy.


The Correct Way to De-Ice Your Car

Frosted windscreens

  • Make sure your wipers aren’t switched on – if they’re frozen to the windscreen they could be damaged when the engine starts.
  • Switch on your ignition and turn up the heat up on your front and rear windscreen. If you have a heated windscreen and or heated wing mirror options switch them on.
  • Turn on air conditioning (if you have it) to take the moisture out of the air and prevent the windows from misting up.
  • Clear off any snow on the car with a soft brush.
  • Use a de-icer spray on the iced windows and then use a proper ice scraper to remove the ice.


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