Drivesmart column: Clear your frosty windows BEFORE driving

85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes.

By Tim Schewe

Depending on where you are reading this column in British Columbia, the autumn frosts are either already here, or will be here shortly. This means that it is now time to be aware of the lazy driver who can’t or won’t scrape their windows and pulls onto the highway before the defrosters have had a chance to clear more than a small patch low on the windshield.

We all hate to wait (and our driving style shows it, but that’s another set of columns) for the frost to clear and the fog to lift even though our safety depends on it.

The Law

The Motor Vehicle Act requires that a driver must not move the vehicle unless the driver’s view to the front and sides of the vehicle is unobstructed. A defensive driver requires an unobstructed view to the rear as well as the front and sides. They will not rely only on the outside rear view mirrors and will wait for rear windows to clear as well.

The ticketed amount for violations is $109 and there are three penalty points for a conviction.

Solutions

If you cannot park inside a garage overnight to avoid the frost and snow, placing a tarp or sheet of heavy plastic over the windshield can make the cleaning task that much quicker in the morning.

Using an electric interior warmer and a timer is another alternative that will reduce idling time and save fuel.

DIY

There are a number of DIY remedies that include spraying the windshield with vinegar and water before ice forms or using isopropyl alcohol and water to deice after the fact. Research indicates that neither of these methods is really effective.

What does work is a propylene glycol solution, the same ingredient that is found in RV water system antifreeze. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a link to commercial automotive products based on this ingredient.

The most reliable solution still appears to be a good scraper and brush applied with sufficient “elbow grease.”

Clear Vision is Important

Remember, 85 per cent of the information we require to drive safely comes to us through our eyes. That information has to pass through the glass to reach us and cannot do so unless your vehicle’s windows are clean and clear.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

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