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winter-791086_960_720The recent cold snap has left motorists across the North East needing to de-ice their car in the morning.

It is absolutely crucial to de-ice your car thoroughly and carefully: it is dangerous to drive with limited visibility, either because of ice on the outside or condensation on the inside.

However, it is also important to keep a close eye on your vehicle – stay in it if possible – because opportunist thieves are operating across the region in a bid to steal cars that have been left running and unattended while they ‘warm up’.

Police chiefs have previously warned motorists NOT to leave vehicles unattended with the engine running while de-icing the windscreen – after a spate of thefts in the last few years. Vehicles have been driven off by thieves who struck while motorists were keeping warm in their homes while their cars were left running outside to defrost after temperatures plummeted.

There is also a chance you will not be insured if you have left the car unattended with the key in the ignition.

Here are the DMA law dos and don’ts of car de-icing.


De-ice thoroughly. This is really important: it’s incredibly dangerous to drive with obscured windows. Scrape your glass thoroughly and try to warm up your engine (and therefore your heaters) before you set off.

Allow more time to deice your car – if you’re rushing, you might be tempted to drive off before you’re finished.

Stay with your vehicle. You wouldn’t leave your car running at any other time of year, so don’t give opportunist thieves an easy chance to steal your car.

Keep a scraper in the car and wear gloves!


Be tempted to drive off before your windows are fully clear. Accidents are caused and people are killed or injured because of this each year. It’s not worth it.

Use boiling water to thaw your glass. While you’d need to be unlucky for this to actually shatter your glass, glass quite often has small imperfections – stonechips, etc – that can cause weakness and increase the chance of boiling water damage.

Leave your car on its own. It’s worth repeating. Don’t do it!