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 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 3 penalty points for a conviction.
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.
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. Reseach 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% 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.
Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
These systems often use cameras mounted behind the rear view mirror. Like you, they need clear glass to see properly. A completely clean windshield is even more important on some of today's vehicles.
Yes, the MVA does require that a driver's view be unobstructed. Nonetheless, it's commonplace to see vehicles with large amounts of 'bling' hanging from the rearview mirror. Even though blatantly obvious that this must restrict vision, there does not appear to be any police enforcement to restrict this practice.