Drivers urged to properly clear windscreen frost as millions admit to ignoring Highway Code rules

Drivers urged to properly clear windscreen frost as millions admit to ignoring Highway Code rules

Drivers continue to face near-freezing temperatures

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 19/01/2024

- 05:00

Younger drivers are the most likely age group to potentially break the law

Almost half of all UK motorists admit that they do not properly clear their windscreens and mirrors of any frost when getting ready to drive on colder, winter mornings.

A total of 48 per cent said they do drive off before their windscreen is completely clear of snow and ice during winter months.

The issue is particularly prevalent among younger drivers, with 70 per cent of those between 24 and 34 saying they drive off before clearing their view.

On the other hand, elderly drivers aged 64 and over were much less likely to risk driving with their vision potentially obscured.

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Windscreen frost

The Highway Code outlines how drivers must have a clear view of the road


Only 23 per cent of older people said they would leave in the morning with a blocked view.

If drivers are in a rush in the mornings to get to school or work, they may only clear a small section of the windscreen, known as “portholing”.

This is often seen where people scrape ice and frost away from their direct line of sight, but do not clear the rest of the windscreen.

While this does give the driver a view of the road straight in front of them, they may have difficulty when seeing vehicles coming from other lanes.

Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead meaning the windscreen needs to be fully de-iced on the outside and demisted on the inside.

Rule 229 of the Highway Code also outlines how drivers must be able to see from all windows ensuring they are clear of all snow, ice and mist.

The data, from Autoglym, also found that many people admitted to using unusual methods to clear ice or snow from their windscreen.

Almost four in 10 people said they had used a credit or debit card to clear their windscreen, while a further 36 per cent said they used their bare hands or gloves.

Other interesting methods to get rid of frost included a spatula (17 per cent), salt (10 per cent), a book or magazine (four per cent) and two per cent using a mobile phone.

The cold temperatures are expected to continue in the coming days with two yellow snow and ice warnings in place for today, January 19.

Experts are warning that snow and icy patches will bring further disruption to drivers as some roads are likely to be affected by the conditions.

Two further yellow weather warnings are in place for Sunday, January 21 and Monday, January 22, although these are for rain and wind.


Defrosting windscreen

Drivers have admitted to using unconventional methods to clear their windscreens


They will affect the majority of the UK with all of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales covered by the warning, as well as large parts of England.

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