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Leaving a Started Vehicle Unattended Is Considered Illegal in West Virginia

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MORGANTOWN -

Anyone who's driven a car has probably got into their car and started it up to thaw. But once you step out of that car and walk away, you're actually committing a crime.

According to West Virginia State Code 17C-14-1:

"West Virginians are not allowed to leave their motor vehicles running unattended. By law, a driver must turn off the car, lock the ignition, and remove the key. Leaving an unattended motor vehicle running is a misdemeanor and carries a first-offense fine of up to $100."

If you get caught leaving your car unattended more than once might cost you up to $500.

Jonathon Brager works at Advanced Auto Parts in Morgantown and said it's actually beneficial to let your car heat up before you start driving.

"With your piston rings cold, since they're metal they expand, and that can cause problems just down the road with engine failure," said Brager. "And causing problems down the road with engine failure and making problems with your pistons and causing misfires."

There are also some other ways to keep your and your car safe in the wintry weather.

"Clear most of the ice off of all your windows so you have the most visibility possible, Making sure you have decent wiper blades to get you through when it's snowing out like it is," Brager said. "And having a good wiper fluid helps clear snow off and keeps your car nice and ice and snow free."

Car batteries are important to keep an eye on when the temperature is below freezing. As well as your car's gas tank. Below freezing temperatures can cause the gas to freeze in the line.

"We have an awesome product it's called "Heet." It's in a red or yellow bottle," Brager said. "What it does, you put it in your gas tank, and it's like an antifreeze for your gas line and also injector cleaner. It works really well."

Employees at Advanced Auto Parts said doing these things can keep drivers from being stuck in the cold temps.

Brager said it's worth sitting in the car while you wait for it to heat up to avoid getting the citation and protect your engine.