DRIVERS are being warned about leaving their engine running while defrosting their vehicle as heavy snow and ice causes chaos on roads across the UK.
Motorists have been told they could have to pay a £20 fixed penalty notice for leaving their engine "idling" - which could double to £40 if not paid quickly - because they're damaging the environment.
Some local councils may even add a further charge on top of this and new emissions rules in London mean the fine could rise to an incredible £80.
Engine idling is illegal under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Expert Andrew Marshall, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at CarMoney warned drivers were likely to idle their cars while defrosting their vehicle.
He said: “Now more than ever it is important to be aware of our impact on the environment.
Drivers across the UK are battling frost and snow on their windscreen every morning PA
“By minimising car idling on our daily commutes, school drop-offs and simply waiting in traffic, we can contribute less CO2 emissions.
“Aside from switching to electric vehicles or hybrid car models, motorists can be more mindful of their idling habits by switching off their engine if waiting for long periods of time.
“As winter approaches, lessen the need for idling whilst waiting for the windows to defrost by covering your windscreen overnight, or using a can of de-icer and a manual scraper to clear the windscreen.”
Rule 123 in the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.”
According to Confused.com research has found that an idling car causes enough emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful pollutants – every minute.
Driver warning: Cars across the UK have been covered in ice and snow in recent days PA
A range of tricks and tips have been circulating recently to help people reduce the time it takes to clear ice and frost from their cars.
Some include pouring warm water over your windscreen or using a plastic bag filled with warm water to melt away any ice or frost.
But experts warned you must never use hot water on your car as the sudden change in temperature could crack the glass.
Another way to defrost your car is by putting on your car's heating and waiting for the car to warm up - but if you do this while you're not sitting in the vehicle it will count as "idling" and you'll technically be breaking the law and at risk of a large fine.