Winter is a magical time of year for people who live where the landscape is covered in a beautiful world of white. But, when that whiteness includes frost on the windshield, it’s downright dangerous. For most of us that reside in winter cities, it’s almost second nature to make the necessary changes for winter driving and maintain our cars accordingly. Unfortunately, there are plenty of motorists who are just too lazy to spend two minutes to remove the hazardous frost from the windshield before getting on the road. They put everyone in jeopardy of being in an accident.
Frost is the term used for different types of deposits of ice that form when the air is humid in cold weather conditions and usually occurs overnight. It happens when the temperature cools below the freezing of water and leaves its residue on solid surfaces. When a glass pane is exposed to very cold air on the outside and moderately moist air on the inside, window frost is the result. The coating may look glassy, opaque or crystalline and depending on the framework on which it is formed, the process may be called atmospheric icing.
During the cold winter months, this process routinely occurs, leaving car owners faced with hard packed frost and ice on their windshield. Frost in one’s field of vision is extremely dangerous because a driver cannot see other vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles and animals clearly. Drivers need complete visibility, which is ideally 360 degrees.
In some jurisdictions, people who drive their cars with only a Frisbee-sized clearance (peephole drivers) near the bottom of their windshield can face fines for visual obstructions. In addition to possible fines and charges being laid, like reckless driving resulting in demerit points, they can also have legal action taken against them in the event of an accident where a bodily injury is sustained.
Here are some tips to help you quickly remove frost and ice from your windshield.
- Having a garage is not an option for everyone so the next best thing you can do is cover the windshield from the elements by using a lightweight tarp, double-folded sheet or cardboard over the windshield. This method will effectively prevent ice build-up, frost or snow from touching the glass. You can hold the tarp down with bungee straps.
- If you live in a high snow region using a tarp might be difficult to remove because of the weight, so the next most logical step is to get the car started and warmed up inside. Set your heater system on high and allow the interior to get toasty hot. The heater/defroster setting will help to thaw some of the frost on the windshield and windows, but a little elbow grease is still required.
- Use a bucket of cool-lukewarm (not hot) water to rapidly soften and melt the ice on your windshield and windows. Simply pour the water on the glass that you want to defrost. The ice should become translucent and may even completely disappear. Follow this up using a gloved hand, a conventional plastic scraper or your windshield wipers to move the ice away while it’s in a slushy form. If a first application did not soften the ice enough, reapply a second round of water.
- You can buy either a commercial specially-formulated de-icing fluid or make your own. The formula for making an effective de-icer is one part rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dish soap into a clean, dry spray bottle. Invert the bottle several times to mix. Whichever you use, spray the de-icer fluid on the icy parts of the windshield and allow a few minutes for the liquid to soak through. The more you use, the faster the action. Once the ice is softened, use a gloved hand, a conventional plastic scraper or your windshield wipers to move the ice away. Reapply to difficult spots as you scrape.
Be Safe – Eliminate Windshield Frost:
Driving during the harsh Canadian winter months presents enough aggravation without the added danger of frost on your windshield. By following some simple tips and using your common sense, you and everyone around you will be safer when you’re driving on the roads with a frost free windshield