Drivers warned of major £2,500 fine for not clearing windscreen frost

Car hack: De-ice windscreen with unusual trick

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“Portholing” is a driving offence whereby motorists do not fully clear the windows of their car from ice, frost or snow – in some cases leaving just a small porthole to see out of. Shockingly, new research has revealed that over half of UK motorists (53 percent) admit they have done this.

While it may seem like a quick fix for drivers in the morning, they are risking a fine of £60 – rising to £2,500 if their vehicle is deemed dangerous – and three points on their licence. 

Whilst the research – from Halfords – suggests motorists are taking a lax attitude towards this, multiple reports of police fining drivers for this offence during the December cold snap suggests some forces across the country could be cracking down on the issue. 

Most motorists are not naïve to the law, with 82 percent saying they are aware that driving without clearing all the ice and snow from their windows could land them with a fine and points on their licence. 

Many also understand the dangers but flout them anyway – with one in six admitting they have driven with so much ice or snow covering their windscreen that they “knew it was dangerous”. 

Despite this, 12 percent simply say they don’t think they need to clear it all off to drive. 

Amongst those who say they’ve previously not properly cleared their windows, 10 percent say they “couldn’t be bothered”, while a similar number said they didn’t want to get their hands cold.

However, if the shoe was on the other foot, 58 percent say they would be angry if someone who drove into them hadn’t properly cleared their windscreen. 

Around three percent of drivers – equating to roughly a million drivers – admit they have been in an accident because they hadn’t cleared their windows properly.

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Graham Stapleton, CEO of Halfords, is calling on motorists to make sure they properly clear their windscreens during the current cold snap. 

He said: “Most motorists know that driving with ice or snow on their windows is illegal and dangerous, so I really don’t understand why so many are needlessly putting themselves at risk.

“Whilst officers may exercise some discretion, the letter of the law states that all windows, including those on the sides and at the rear, must be completely free of snow or ice. 

“But anyone driving with just a small part of their windscreen cleared is at risk of being stopped. 

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“I’d also add that motorists should clear any snow from their roof. When braking, this could be propelled forward and entirely cover the windscreen – not something anyone would want to experience whilst driving, especially at faster speeds such as on a motorway.”

Amongst motorists who admit they are guilty of driving without properly clearing their windscreen, few appear to have a good excuse.

The most common reasons include being late for work, being late for a meeting or appointment, and being late to get the kids to school.

Over a quarter say that they assumed the ice or snow would simply melt and fall off once they started driving.

This is perhaps optimistic in the sub-zero temperatures the UK has experienced this winter. 

There are also fears that many drivers do not understand the basics of clearing their windows of frost, ice and snow.

One of the most common “quick” techniques seen includes scraping the ice off the car with a credit card, which can not only damage the windscreen, but could also snap the card.

Astonishingly,  28 of the respondents in the 2,000-person survey admit to taking a rather extreme approach and using a flame thrower (either a professional one or a lighter and aerosol can) or a blow torch to de-ice their car. 

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