Winter has come early in Ontario this year. We had a significant snowfall Thursday night through Friday and the police were flooded with calls about car accidents. Police were out Friday morning enforcing the law and charging drivers with not brushing off their cars before hitting the road.
Not clearing off your vehicle poses several risks to you the driver, pedestrians and other traffic on the road. The driver of the car with obstructed view cannot see out of their car. They create a situation where large chunks of snow and ice begin to shed off the car as they speed up. These chunks can hit and injure pedestrians, cause damage to other cars, and often obscure the view for cars who are hit by the volumes of snow and ice. There are cases every year of windshields being broken by chunks of ice falling off of cars and trucks. This can easily cause fatal accidents.
The charge the police lay is Obstructed View and carries a $110 fine. Police advise that you allow a few extra minutes on snowy mornings to go out, start your car and then begin brushing it off. This will allow the inside of your car to defog and defrost and will loosen the snow and ice that has settled on your windshield. NEVER pour hot water onto your windows in the winter as that will cause them to crack or break. You should also brush off the top of the car, the hood and trunk and loosen your rear wiper. Make sure your lights are cleared off and that your license plate is visible as well.
Purchase a good long handled snow brush and scraper. They are worth the few dollars extra. There are exterior window coverings that you can purchase to cover your car windshield. You can also park in the garage or under temporary winter shelters which are particularly popular in Quebec and heavy snow regions in Ontario. If you don’t have the time or inclination to brush your car off you can always investigate the cost of an auto car started that you can activate early enough to let your car idle and begin to defrost itself although you’ll likely still be scraping.
We are expecting more snow this winter. Slow down your driving, allow yourself extra time to get places, pack your winter safety kit and put it in the car, and clear off your windows before you start driving.