Tips for safe driving in winter: part 3

Snow-covered car, parked outside residence, day.

Published 9 April 2021
Last updated 20 March 2024

In this blog, we give you the lowdown on how to save money and stay legal this winter. Includes important advice on rule 123 of The Highway Code and leaving your engine running.

In the final instalment of our winter driving series, we’d like to highlight a couple of things you might not be aware of – things that could end up saving you a bit of money!

Fine weather

Hands up anyone who’s left their car engine running on a cold and frosty morning! I know, it’s tempting, isn’t it? The engine hums, the heat rises, the interior warms up and the ice begins to melt. You could almost toast marshmallows on the radiator. There’s just one rather big problem.

Leaving your car unattended with the engine running on a public road is an offence under regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. (Do not you just love the titles they give those laws? They’re so snappy.) To find out more about this, get hold of a shiny new copy of The Official Highway Code and flick your way to rule 123.

'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.'

If you do not switch off your engine when a police officer or traffic enforcement officer asks you to, you may end up with a £20 fine. You do not want that, do you?


For those of you kicking back and thinking ‘Yeah, but I don’t run my engine on a public road, just on my drive’ … well, yes, technically you are not breaking the law, but there are good reasons why you should still look at other ways of de-icing your car:

  • Suppose someone steals it while you’re inside burning your toast? You might think that sounds ridiculous, but it has happened and it will continue to happen as long as drivers give thieves such easy pickings. Have look at this article for more info.
  • Think of the environment. In a world already choking with CO2 emissions, a little less burning of fossil fuels can go a long way.

Thawing to an end

Well, that’s nearly it for our winter driving series. Before we go, let’s point you in the direction of some safe and legal ways to de-ice your car. You can find most of what you need to know in this blog post but, if you fancy reading some more fantastic advice about winter driving (and many other things besides), pop over to the Safe Driving for Life shop and pick up copies of The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills.

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