UPDATE: Some clarifications on an idling car in the states of New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts as the Good Housekeeping article was a bit misleading. The law on idling in Maine refers to commercial motor vehicles, though there are some idling restrictions in the town of Bar Harbor. New Hampshire has idling limitations based on temperatures, and Massachusetts has an anti-idling law that has exemptions like "running the engine while actively clearing snow and ice off the vehicle and to warm the windshield and interior of the vehicle."

There I was. Running out of my house at 4am, coffee in hand, ready to make the drive to the radio station. I tried to open the door to the car and it was frozen shut. I went over to the passengers side to try that door and luckily, it opened. I found a small scraper in the side door and began to wake up the neighbors with the loud scraping sound. (Sorry, neighbors) I was thinking I should have started the car before I got in, but then, I remembered that it's actually illegal to warm up the car in the driveway. Or is it?

According to an article in Good Housekeeping, it doesn't matter how long the car is running, there are many states that consider idling an automatic misdemeanor. It's an effort to protect the environment.

The article mentions that New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts are on the list, but it's a bit misleading.

The law on idling in Maine refers to commercial motor vehicles, though there are some idling restrictions in the town of Bar Harbor. New Hampshire has idling limitations based on temperatures, and Massachusetts has an anti-idling law that has exemptions like "running the engine while actively clearing snow and ice off the vehicle and to warm the windshield and interior of the vehicle."

So while the goal is really to help the environment by not having unnecessary idling, it's unlikely you'll get a ticket in NH, ME and MA if you're warming up your car during the winter months.

 


In the meantime, here are some items to help out during the cold winter months:

For if your car is still a little icy

For your hands to stay warm

For your coffee or hot chocolate as you wait for your car to warm up during your drive