Troopers warn against unattended idling cars in Del.

As the weather gets colder, many people tend to leave their cars running, yet unattended, in order to warm up before driving, but this is illegal in Delaware.

Officials in Delaware say that although this might be good for the engine, it could be costly and is against the law in Delaware. According to a release from the Delaware State Police, “The most common practice is a victim leaving their car running in a parking lot while they go into a store for a quick purchase. Some car thieves look for cars idling in parking lots and in residential areas by watching the steam that emanates from a car’s exhaust on a cold morning as it warms up or as they leave the car unattended. Once they see a car is left alone, all they literally have to do is walk up and drive away.”

The Delaware law regarding idling cars is as follows: (Title 21, § 4182) Unattended motor vehicle.  
No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway. For a first offense, a fine of $25 – $75 can be imposed.

Troopers say that with today’s technology, a car usually only needs about 30 seconds to warm up before they are ready, even in cold weather. After that, troopers note that the best way to increase your engine’s temperature is by driving the car. According to the DSP release, not only will driving the car get hot air into your cabin faster, it saves gas and cuts emissions. If temperatures dip to 10-20 degrees fahrenheit or lower however, troopers suggest that you warm the car for a minute or two to ensure the oil thins and circulates fully, but stay with the vehicle.

Troopers say that they also understand you may want extra warm-up time to thaw the rest of the car. In this instance, they recommend that the best method for this is to start your car, turn on the defroster and let the engine warm while you scrape the windshield and clear away the frost. They ask that people try not to idle for longer than five minutes to conserve fuel and remember; always stay with the vehicle.

Categories: Crime, Delaware, Local News, Money