RAC survey shows nearly half of motorists are committing a winter windscreen faux pas.

11 December 2006
British motorists are risking their own safety and causing damage to their vehicles by not clearing their windscreens of frost and ice before setting off on a journey, according to research by RAC Auto Windscreens. RAC Auto Windscreens survey found that 42% of drivers admitted not defrosting their windscreen properly before driving off and that many motorists use methods that could result in cracked windscreens and broken wipers.

John Tutt, RAC Auto Windscreens operations director, says: “Our research shows that many motorists are taking inadequate and potentially dangerous measures to de-frost their windscreens during the winter months. The most common mistakes to make are trying to clear ice with credit cards or windscreen wipers which can scratch the glass or pouring hot water which can cause cracking. It’s important that drivers take the extra time to prepare their cars for winter conditions safely and ensure that their windscreens are free of ice and frost before setting off on a journey.”

According to the survey, 39% of people are unaware that driving with "porthole" vision can result in a fine of £1,000 and driving license penalty points. More worrying still is the fact that as many as one in ten accidents on the UK’s roads are caused by vision impairment, which can result from ice and snow on the windscreen.

RAC Auto Windscreens offers its top winter motoring tips:

1. Before setting out on a journey, use a windscreen scraper or a de-icer to remove ice from your vehicle - do not use warm water from a kettle, as resulting problems may include a cracked windscreen

2. Carry a key de-icer with you to clear your lock

3. Do not drive with a small hole cut through the ice on your windscreen. The Highway Code states that it is illegal to drive with poor visibility

4. Ensure all windows and mirrors are completely demisted and totally cleared of ice using a can of de-icer and a windscreen scraper

5. Check front and rear wiper blades for wear or splitting.

6. Check windscreen washers making sure that they are adjusted correctly. Screen wash additive should be added to prevent freezing in winter.

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