The darker mornings are tough enough to handle without throwing frozen windscreens and windows into the mix, particularly if you are already running late. It may be tempting to scrape a porthole big enough for you to see, but driving with limited visibility is dangerous and, therefore, against the law.
Preventing frozen windows and mirrors
You can alleviate the stress of defrosting your car by protecting it from plummeting overnight temperatures. Here’s how.
Cover up your windscreen
Getting your vehicle under cover is the quickest and easiest way to stop it from freezing up.
- If you have a garage or parking port, it may be time to clear space so you can use it for vehicle storage.
- If you are not lucky enough to have a garage or parking port, or yours is too full of tools, camping equipment and household overflow, then a car cover or windscreen shield are good alternatives.
- In the absence of a windscreen protector or car cover, an old towel will do; it might not be as effective as the real thing, but is better than nothing.
Protect your wing mirrors
Your wing mirrors are also important for safe driving, so they need to be covered up, too. You can buy wing mirror protectors but a couple of carrier bags or small bin liners will do the job of preventing your wing mirrors from freezing up just as well.
Even if you have covered up your car, remember to give yourself a couple of extra minutes to get your heating on inside the vehicle so that you are fully demisted and have good visibility.
How to defrost your windscreen
If you don’t have the capacity to protect your car from frost, or you simply forgot to wrap your vehicle up, it is important that you know how to defrost your windscreen safely without damaging your windscreen. Don’t be tempted to use hot water; this can cause burns to you, but the dramatic change in temperature could also crack your windscreen, leading to expensive repairs or even windscreen replacement. Save your kettle for your morning tea and try one of these tips:
- Turn your engine on and get your rear and front screen heaters on. Turn the heat all the way up to heat your windows from the inside and either: Fill a Ziploc bag or hot water bottle with warm-hot (not boiling) water and rub it over the windscreen. Use de-icer and a scraper to clear the windscreen, mirrors and rear window. Wipe the windows with warm salt water.
What NOT to do
Remember not to wind down your electric windows or use your windscreen wipers until they have defrosted, or you could break the mechanism. If you are running your engine to warm the car up, remember not to leave it unattended, particularly if you have parked in a public place or your driveway is easily accessible by opportunists.