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De-Icing Your Car by Letting It Idle Will Earn You a Fine in the UK

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A car covered in ice is not a pleasant way to start the day. Sometimes, maybe because you’re tired and cold or are just completely over winter and have no energy or desire to scrape your icy windows, you let your car do the de-icing for you by letting the engine run. Sounds like a reasonable plan—running engine equals melting ice.

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But, according to, what appears to be a reasonable (and popular plan of many motorists) will actually land you a heavy fine in the UK because it falls under the country’s “stationary idling offence,” and is completely illegal.

The offense hit the books in 2002 and, when enforced, could cost the motorist “a fixed £20 fine – or £40 if not paid within three weeks.”

According to, the stationary idling offense is rooted in Rule 123 of the Highway Code, which reads: “If the vehicle is stationary and likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should switch off the engine to reduce emissions and oil pollution.”

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There is one important loophole to this rule though—it only applies to vehicles that are on public highways, which means that if your car is parked in your private driveway, you can disobey this law and put the environment and your health at risk to ultimately save a few minutes of scraping time.

The idling practice is not only harmful to the environment, but it also puts your car in jeopardy, because thieves would love nothing better than to jump into an ignored running (and de-iced) car.

News Source: DailyMail