Be safe, clean off that snow and ice
This editorial appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald:
No reasonable driver would contemplate steering the car out of the driveway while wearing a blindfold or holding one hand over his or her eyes.
However, that’s just what many people do every winter — when they take a vehicle onto the road without properly clearing the snow and ice from its windows, roof and lights.
Despite the logic of driving safety, it’s amazing how often we encounter a moving vehicle that has a windshield and windows obscured by snow or ice — or a roof piled high with white stuff ready to avalanche over the windshield and suddenly blind the driver.
Sure, everyone is in a hurry these days. And clearing snow and scraping ice can affect your schedule. But there’s plenty more than your schedule at stake if you don’t scrape and clear away safety hazards.
The Canada Safety Council provides good counsel on why it’s important not just to clear snow and ice from your windshield and wiper blades, but to remove all snow hazards to you, passengers and other vehicles. The safety council offers examples of the dangers. One is not clearing the snow from headlights or tail lights. This neglect makes you less visible to other drivers. Equally dangerous is failing to clean off your back window. The result is a massive blind spot, rendering your rear-view mirror virtually useless.
Then there is that hardest-to-reach snow — the stuff that accumulates on top of your vehicle. It won’t obstruct your view up there, but it can pose a danger to you and others on the road. The motion of driving and heat from inside the vehicle can loosen roof snow and ice and send it suddenly cascading down your windshield to block your view.
Some people think this can be easily solved by turning on windshield wipers. But even the best wiper blades are no match for a blanket of thick, heavy snow suddenly creating a lapse in visibility that could have tragic consequences.
Clearing off a car properly after a snowfall can make a big difference to your safety and to the safety of others sharing the road. So take the time to do it properly. You owe it to those whose safety and lives depend on it.