Even though we’re heading into spring, the weather and temperatures in New Zealand can be colder and more unpredictable than in mid-winter. Something we’re seeing more of the past few weeks around the country is ice on our windscreens.

While this might be common for those who live in the colder, more rural parts of our country, townies may be stumped when they’re running late for work, grab their keys and run out to their car, only to find their windscreen covered with the cold stuff.

To make things worse, if the exterior of your car has frost on it, it is likely that the interior of your windscreen will be fogged up too. Foggy windscreens are usually quite easily remedied by using the windscreen demisters in your car. However, ice on the outside is trickier to manage.

The challenge is that frost obstructs your vision, stops you from seeing clearly through your windscreen and it can’t be removed using windscreen wipers. Spraying cold water on it can often make the problem worse.

Here are four tips to help keep your windscreen clear:

1. Scrape it off

If you don’t have access to specific materials or solutions, you can scrape off the ice manually. Start your engine and begin warming up your car, including blowing warm air onto the interior windscreen. After a few minutes, you should be able to use a credit card or plastic scraper at a thirty-degree angle to remove the frost from the windscreen. Start at the bottom and work upwards, as demisters work this way too.

2. Use a de-icing product

Vehicle owners have been dealing with the challenge of frosted windscreens for a long time, so smart people have developed specific products to help remedy the situation quickly. You can buy de-icing sprays and liquids at auto stores and online, however, making your own solution is easy and cost-effective.

One option many people swear by is the ¾ vinegar and ¼ water mixture. Simply mix it up and pour, or spray, the solution over your windscreen. Simply brush the excess off with a soft brush, or use your windscreen wipers to remove the remaining solution so it doesn’t freeze up again.

3. Pour warm water on the windshield

This method is perfect if you haven’t prepared beforehand and need the frost off your windscreen as soon as possible. Simply fill a bucket with lukewarm water and pour it on the windscreen from the top down. It’s important to make sure the water is warm – that is, not boiling – or you run the risk of your windscreen cracking.

4. Prepare beforehand

If you don’t want to deal with the chilly problem of clearing your car’s windscreen first thing in the morning, you can prevent the ice from forming in the first place. According to Stuff, placing a sack, sheet, towel or a sheet of bubble wrap over the windscreen at night will help prevent frost from forming. You can just lift it off in the morning and enjoy your ice-free windscreen.