Who in their right mind wants to sit in a cold car, waiting for the temperature to rise above freezing?! Not me and not you I'm guessing. But alas, in Texas, it's against the law to warm up a vehicle without being in it!

Illegal to leave car running unattended, Texas
Credit: Stefan Redel

Even though it's quite inconvenient, the law is really designed to protect you. As tempting as it is to start your car and let it warm up, while you got back inside your toasty house, it's just as tempting for a car thief to hop in your car and take it! If you have a remote start vehicle, consider yourself blessed, because the law doesn't apply.

And if you think you're golden because you have a garage, think again! Idling your vehicle in your garage can be dangerous and deadly! Thomas Greiner, an extension agricultural engineer from Iowa State University, says "Don't ever warm-up a car in a garage, even with the garage door open. In less than two minutes gas fumes build to lethal concentrations in the garage."

Most car experts say that idling or warming up your vehicle really isn't even necessary! According to Esquire, Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission says, "idling is not actually an effective way to warm up a car — it warms up faster if you just drive it."

Here's how it's spelled out in the Texas Transportation Code:

Sec. 545.404. UNATTENDED MOTOR VEHICLE. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an operator may not leave a vehicle unattended without:

(1) stopping the engine;

(2) locking the ignition;

(3) removing the key from the ignition;

(4) setting the parking brake effectively; and

(5) if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

(b) The requirements of Subsections (a)(1), (2), and (3) do not apply to an operator who starts the engine of a vehicle by using a remote starter or other similar device that:

(1) remotely starts the vehicle’s engine without placing the key in the ignition; and

(2) requires the key to be placed in the ignition or physically present in the vehicle before the vehicle can be operated.

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