We’ve all seen vehicles on the road covered in snow with only a tiny section of unfrosted glass through which we see the driver huddled down, chin on the steering wheel, desperately trying to navigate their course – and possibly, that has been you.
If you haven’t been given enough reasons to take the few minutes required to clear your vehicle of snow and ice before pulling out of your parking spot, here are a few that are important to consider.
It’s Illegal Not To
Police services have many methods in their books to address snow-covered and frosted-glass vehicles. Punishment can range from verbal or written warnings to major fines and demerit points. They will still make you clear your vehicle off before allowing you to proceed down the road.
While police services typically do not advertise snow-covered vehicle enforcement, they are all on the lookout during the snowy season for offenders. If you can’t see their flashing lights through your snow-covered windows, hopefully you’ll hear their siren!
Do you consider it safe to operate a vehicle on a public road with only a portion of your driving vision clear? Ice- and snow-covered roads provide enough of a risk to safe driving alone, so why increase that risk by operating your vehicle without clear vision?
There’s also a danger to other drivers and pedestrians. Snow blowing off your vehicle reduces visibility for other drivers, but it doesn’t end there. Ice can also form on vehicle surfaces and when the interior warms up, the bond between the ice and the roof panel weakens allowing for large sheets of ice to be blown off the roof. While you might not assume there is much danger associated with these ice sheets, many windshields are shattered every winter due to this. And of course, if a driver swerves to avoid a large sheet of ice heading toward his or her car, there’s the risk of colliding with another vehicle.
Repairs Can be Expensive
Every winter, vehicle owners are faced with repair bills caused by not clearing snow. When heavy snow and slush slides forward down the windshield during braking, it can mangle wiper blades and arms and damage the linkage and motor. The same can happen to the rear wiper. Wiper systems can also be damaged when snow isn’t cleared away from the bottom of the windshield. A pile-up here can prevent the wipers from completing their sweep-cycle, leading to overheated motors, stripped arm fasteners and broken linkages.
Snow can also damage roof racks, decorative trim, and the HVAC system. Most vehicles’ fresh-air intakes are located just below the front wipers. When loose snow isn’t cleared off before starting the vehicle and turning on the heater, this snow can be drawn into the system, where it can waterlog a cabin air filter or cause problems with heater control doors and linkages.
Leaving snow on your vehicle can be dangerous and costly for you and other drivers. Fortunately, it is pretty simple to prevent all of this from happening by clearing off the vehicle before taking off to a destination.