The best way to defrost your car windscreen as icy weather arrives

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Winter weather is upon us, and already some drivers in the North East will have had frozen windscreens to deal with before their morning and evening commutes.

But what is the best way to deal with this chilly problem? Here is a foolproof guide:

:: First things first - DO NOT use hot water to try and melt the ice

This risks cracking the windshield, especially if you already have any chips or small cracks in the glass.

The hot water quickly expands the screen, which will then contract again rapidly in the cold - the laws of physics are against you here.

Also, if it's really cold, the warm water can simply turn into ice as it runs down the glass.

:: Hit the air-conditioning

Gently circulate warm air around the car with the fan system , and using the heated rear screen and mirrors (if you're lucky enough to have them) will make your job much easier.

If you've got air-conditioning, remember it isn't only for summer - it produces dry air which will help keep cold glass mist-free.

:: Stay with the car all the time - if you must go back indoors switch off and lock the car

Thieves look out for unattended cars being defrosted with the engine left running, so leaving your vehicle with the keys in for even a moment is just a bad idea. Full stop.

:: Don't even consider driving off without fully clearing your windows

Your visibility will be drastically reduced, increasing the risk of accidents

:: Remember not to leave your wipers on when frost is forecast

Windscreen wipers can become frozen to the windscreen, meaning you're risking damaging the motor if you have them running when they're stuff

Don't try to force them off the glass either. Wait until the ice has defrosted.

:: Clear all snow from your car

If the weather gods have been particularly unkind, you make have your snow right across your car.

It's important to clear this off so if doesn't fall from your roof onto the car windscreen, suddenly reducing your visibility while driving.

A soft brush is the best thing to use. Also make sure the front grille is clear so there is no risk of your engine overheating, and ensure your lights are clean and working

:: Don't use your hands to de-mist your windows

Your own breath on cold windows brings with it fresh misery in colder weather - but use a lint-free absorbent cloth or pad to clear if off.

Using your hand will leave greasy smears across the glass, reducing your visibility. And a diamond ring could scratch the glass.