Cold winter mornings can be a pain, especially when you find your car frozen over after an overnight frost.

If you don’t have the benefit of keeping your car undercover and out of the elements, this is often an all too common occurrence in the colder months.

And many of us are often too lazy to wait for our cars to de-ice fully or do it manually. Instead, we start the engine of our cars and leave them running.

But as well as risking having your car stolen while defrosting, you could also be fined if you leave your car to de-ice on a public road.

Fines of up to £40 can be given out if drivers are seen to be leaving their engines running to de-ice, as it’s seen as an offence under regulations 98 and 107 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, which reiterates the Highway Code, according to the RAC.

The initial fine that can be given out by the police is £20, although this doubles if it’s not paid within the specified time frame, reports the Daily Mail.

Rule 123 of the code states that drivers should not “unnecessarily” leave their cars stationary and running on a public road, although drivers are not fined straight away – only if they refuse to turn their engine off when instructed. However, drivers risk greater fines if they fail to properly clear ice or snow from their windscreens and windows.

The RAC has recommended that drivers use anti-freeze and scrapers instead, while sprayable de-icing products don’t require the engine to be running and can also be quicker to defrost, providing temperatures aren’t too cold.

Drivers do risk insurance companies refusing to pay out for claims if a vehicle is stolen while defrosting as it’s seen as the motorist significantly increasing the risk of a vehicle being stolen.