Frost and ice will begin to melt within seconds if the engine is running and motorists can push the remaining cover off with their windscreen wipers for clear visibility. However, road users could see themselves hit with a fine today for leaving their car in this position while clearing frost from a windscreen.
Leaving a car engine running on the side of a road is a criminal offence and motorists could get caught out with expensive charges.
The Highway Code says motorists must not leave a vehicle running unnecessarily while the car is stationary on a public road.
This is because council officials will say you are unnecessarily polluting the environment which carries a severe punishment.
Motorists caught could be hit with an on-the-spot £20 fine which can be doubled if motorists refuse to pay the charge before a certain time.
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Parking in this area could see you fined
The law only applies to sections of public road and motorists are allowed to keep their engine running on their driveway or a private parking space.
Confused.com urges motorists to switch their engine off if they are likely to be waiting on the side of a road for more than one minute.
The RAC says road users will only pay the fines if a motorist refuses to switch off an engine when they are asked to.
Some areas of London have issued the “no-idling” signs around the borough to prevent motorists from forgetting.
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Some areas of the capital have even increased fines to £80 in a bid to further deter road users from breaking the rules.
A recent RAC study revealed 44 percent of members would like to see fines handed out to those who refuse to turn off their engine.
A massive 88 percent said they had seen road user parked on the side of the road with their engines still running as 40 percent confirmed they saw this often.
One quarter revealed they had seen this outside schools despite pollutants potentially damaging the health of children.
However, enforcement rates are dreadfully low and motorists are getting away without paying any punishment.
A recent Freedom of Information Act request revealed just 494 fines have been handed out in four years across the nation’s 48 million motorists.
The statistic equates to just 0.001 percent of all licence holders as many offenders slip through the net.
London saw the highest enforcement rate with 66 fines due to more patrols and a higher population while some regions such as Cheshire and Lincolnshire saw no penalties handed out at all.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Councils already have the powers to deal with this problem, but few are currently doing so. Many of the drivers we questioned would like to see some firm action taken against offenders.”
He added: “The presence of enforcement officers and ‘no engine idling’ signs, complete with penalties, must be the next step in making our urban environments better for everyone who lives, drives and works in them”
Despite the threat of receiving a fine relatively low, motorists do run the risk of invalidating their car insurance.
Firstly, insurers will likely refuse to pay out on repairs if a motorist has done something against the law or Highway Code.
Insurance providers will also refuse to pay out on damage or replacing a vehicle if your car is damaged or stolen by thieves.
Criminals use the cold conditions to steal vehicles while the owner heads back inside to get warm.
Insurers will refuse to pay out for claims in this situation as leaving a key in the ignition and your car unlocked will be deemed your fault.