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    • Drivers warned to give hot water the cold shoulder in the morning de-icing rush

5 January 2010

Drivers warned to give hot water the cold shoulder in the morning de-icing rush

With Britain in the grip of a big freeze, Autoglass is reporting record numbers of cracked windscreens requiring replacement. The firm is forecasting a huge increase in calls this week as overnight temperatures plummet and motorists rush to de-ice their cars in the morning.

The company recorded a record number of calls on Monday January 4th as people returned to work and hurried to remove ice from their windscreens and make their journeys, reporting a 25 per cent increase on the previous record last February. With temperatures expected to plummet to more than -12 in parts of the UK, Autoglass is warning people to be careful when removing ice and snow from their vehicles.

The advice from Autoglass is to use a good de-icer and scraper to ensure the windscreen, rear screen and side windows are all completely clear from frost and ice before setting off, and not to use make-shift scrapers such as CD cases, or pour boiling water onto the glass to melt the ice.

Nigel Doggett, managing director at Autoglass, says: “Getting out of the house and into the car to drive to work or take the kids to school is often a frantic rush.  But as the country is gripped by winter weather, drivers must think ahead and plan an extra 10 minutes onto their journey so they can completely clear the ice from their windscreen, rear windscreen, side glass and mirrors before setting off. 

“Driving with an impaired vision of the road is extremely dangerous, particularly in icy conditions where stopping distances increase by up to 10 times.  By ensuring they have a clear view of the road and other vehicles, drivers can better respond to hazards and avoid accidents.”

He concludes: “Our advice to motorists is simple – before leaving the house, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive.  Always keep a good scraper and de-icer spray in your car during the winter months, check your wipers are in good condition and ensure you have a good supply of screen wash to combat road spray by checking levels regularly.  By following these simple tips, drivers can stay safe on the roads this winter.”

Autoglass offers free windscreen vision safety checks at its branches located across the UK.  The service includes checking the windscreen for chips and assessing the condition of wipers.  If the wipers are in need of replacement, Autoglass® can supply the new blades, which will be fitted free by an expert technician.

Top Tips for Safe Driving in Hazardous Conditions

To ensure drivers stay safe on the roads throughout the winter, Autoglass has compiled a quick reference list of essential safety checks:

1. Before setting off, check the local and national weather forecasts.  If the conditions are dangerous and your journey is not absolutely essential, stay at home
2. Clear your windows and mirrors of all ice before you set out using a good scraper or de-icer – also ensure your windscreen is fully demisted and any snow is cleared from the roof
3. Check all car lights and headlamps.  Each front and rear light should be free from damage or cracks.  Keep your lights clean, not only for your vision but so that other motorists can see you too
4. Check front and rear wiper blades for wear and splitting.  Also check windscreen washer bottle levels and ensure the correct level of anti-freeze has been added to prevent the water from freezing
5. Check the windscreen is free of chips and cracks and ensure your heated rear window is working
6. Allow extra time for your journey and remember to keep the fuel tank full.  Your vehicle will use more fuel than you think in bad road conditions
7. When out on the roads, use dipped headlights and reduce your speed – it can take 10 times longer to stop on an icy road.  Leave more room between you and the driver in front
8. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
9. Always take a warm coat or blanket in the boot in case of breakdown
10. Don’t leave your car running unattended.  Many people leave their cars running on their driveways to demist the screen while they stay inside in the warmth.  This is an open invitation for opportunist thieves to strike

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