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Can I be fined for not de-icing my car in France?

The French Code de la route details which rules must be followed

Winter frosts can leave cars extremely icy in the mornings Pic: Ben Schonewille / Shutterstock

Reader Question:I have been told that I face a fine if driving without having properly de-iced my car’s windscreen – is this true?

An icy windscreen can limit your vision when driving which goes against the French Code de la route

Rules state the windscreen must be sufficiently transparent, both from inside and outside, that objects seen through it are not deformed and that their colours can be clearly seen.

If police stop you, you are liable (in theory) to be fined €135 as it is considered a class four contravention (minor offence) under article R316-3-1. 

You could also have three points taken from your licence.

Motorists may also be told to wait until their windscreen is completely de-iced before being allowed to continue driving. 

If you pay the fine within 15 days, it will be reduced to €90. If you take longer than 60 days, it will be increased to €375.

How to help de-ice your car windows

If you cannot put your car in a garage or shelter, a cardboard cover or similar is advisable. 

Otherwise, turn on the heating for a few minutes before you are due to leave – not full blast, as it can cause a thermal shock and damage your windscreen, as can pouring hot water over it.

Some cars have a de-icing feature built in to warm the windscreen. Scrapers to help finish the job can be bought in most car equipment outlets, such as Feu Vert.

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4 tips to stay safe and check icy roads in real-time in France

Six changes for drivers and road rules in France in 2024

End of points penalty for ‘small speeders’ in France: mixed reaction

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