Freezing weather means you can be fined for 'portholing' in Northamptonshire - but do you know what it is?
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Motorists setting out in icy weather in Northamptonshire could get into a lot of trouble for something they did not even realise was a crime.
The offence is called ‘portholing’ and is not to be confused with potholes on our roads.
It actually involves clearing just a viewing hole rather than the full windscreen on an iced-up vehicle.
A survey from Halfords revealed on Wednesday (January 18) that more than half of all drivers admitted to portholing during rushed moments.
But some are not aware that if police catch them peering through a patchy screen they could be fined up to £2,500 and get points on their licence.
Only one in six motorists surveyed said they knew driving with ice or snow on their windscreens was dangerous. But all admitted they would be angry if someone who hadn’t cleared their windscreen crashed into them.
Nationally, around one million motorists have been in an accident due to not properly clearing their windscreens.
Many of the drivers questioned by Halfords said they simply “couldn’t be bothered” to clear their entire screen, while one in 10 said they did not want to get their hands cold
Halfords bosses believe police are cracking down on portholing as they have received “multiple reports” of police fining drivers for the offence.
The company is now calling on motorists to ensure they de-ice completely.
Halfords CEO Graham Stapleton said: “I really don’t understand why so many are needlessly putting themselves at risk.
“Whilst officers may exercise some discretion, the letter of the law states that all windows, including those on the sides and at the rear, must be completely free of snow or ice.
"Anyone driving with just a small part of their windscreen cleared is at risk of being stopped.”
Meanwhile, Halfords’ survey also showed many people do not appear to understand the “dos and do nots” of clearing their windscreen.
Some 22 percent of people said they have poured boiling water over it to clear it of ice – and around one in six of these said the windscreen cracked as a result.
And one in 20 (five percent) said they have scratched their windscreen using something other than a proper window scraper to de-ice it.