Be safe, clean off that snow and ice

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

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.

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