Columnist: Warming Up Your Car In The Winter Illegal, Dangerous
Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn spends Tuesday’s column agonizing over whether its acceptable to warm up his family’s car on days when temperatures drop dangerously low.
Zorn, who fancies himself environmentally conscious, tries to assuage his guilt over trudging out to his wife’s car in the winter to let it run long enough so be comfortably warm. He points to all the usual eco-zealots who rail against the practice.
But Zorn also points out that it is illegal for Chicago residents to let their car to sit, idle and warmup without a driver. Although, remotely started cars are perfectly legal in Chicago, as long as the windshield has some sort of sticker.
But letting your car warmup alone outside, is a risk as these lonely, idling cars are sometimes stolen even when the car is locked as Zorn showcases a recent incident where this happened to a neighbor or his.
The idea that this practice is illegal is laughable.
If motorists want to warm up their car on a bitter, cold morning, who cares? If the car gets stolen, then that’s on the driver. They take that risk.
Is a warmed up car on days like this worth the risk?
That’s up to the individual driver.
Like Zorn, I think it’s worth the risk. Unlike Zorn, I feel no sense of guilt nor care if the practice technically breaks the law.
It’s a law that needs to be changed.
Here’s Zorn’s well written column, “Americans idle —Warming up your car is a risky, often illegal, tradition.”