I have to make a confession: I broke the law yesterday. Twice, actually. Before you judge me, you're probably a lawbreaker too - and all because you hate getting in to a cold car, just like me.

Now that the cold and snow has returned to Central New York, I'll admit, I prefer to let my car warm up in outside rather than stand out there in the cold scraping, and then freezing when I finally have to head to work. I had no idea I was breaking the law - but I am.

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Sounds crazy, right? Nope, that's the law.

Specifically, the New York State law says "No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the vehicle, and effectively setting the brake..." If you turn your car on, and then stand there brushing off the snow, that's okay, because your car is attended.

Credit: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us
Credit: http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us

What about remote car starters? Those are okay because they don't involve a key, and the car can't be driven away without the key in place (or in the vehicle.) If that's not an endorsement for getting one of those suckers, I don't know what is.

What about my own driveway?

Turns out, the law can only be enforced on public property, so if you've got your car in the driveway of your home - you're all set.

I'd like to be able to tell you, not that I've learned the error of my ways - I'll never start the car and leave it to warm up again, but the truth is: I really really hate to be cold.

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