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One thing about Texans, we aren’t used to snow. Unless you’re from another state, dealing with a vehicle covered in snow simply isn’t something many Texans have encountered enough to know all of the dangerous angles leaving snow on your vehicle can present. While most of the time we warn Texas drivers to stay off the roads during an ice storm or other wintery mix, sometimes driving is unavoidable. Similarly, road conditions may improve, but the windchill hasn’t let up enough to melt snow that’s accumulated on your vehicle. In either of these conditions, cleaning the snow off your vehicle can prevent serious hazards from occurring. 

What are the dangers of not cleaning the snow off your vehicle?

The accumulation of snow on a vehicle can be dangerous and have significant impacts on both the driver and those around. Many may find it hard to believe that a small amount of snow can be detrimental to others on the road, but there are many factors that make it dangerous. Some dangers include: 

Blocking visibility

The snow may reduce the visibility to the driver and it risks being dislodged during transit that potentially can cause property damage to other vehicles and even injure other motorists or pedestrians. 

In addition, not cleaning the snow off your vehicle may block your visibility. Ice or now may fall off your vehicle’s roof and onto the windshield, making it impossible for the driver to see. Skipping this step can lead to fender benders, or even worse, hitting a pedestrian if driving in the city. On a freeway, when there is less of a reaction time, it may lead to a catastrophic accident. 

Dislodged during transit

In addition to blocking visibility, not removing snow or ice from your vehicle can lead to dislodged during transit. If it isn’t evident how this can be dangerous, snow or ice being dislodged could cause property damage to other vehicles and even injure other motorists or pedestrians. 

Tips to clean the snow from your vehicle

  • Check the tailpipe: Make sure to check the back of your vehicle, more specifically the tailpipe. Snow covering the tailpipe can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your vehicle, so it is important to remove the snow right away. 
  • Warm-up your car: If you have the luxury of a remote start, you have an advantage and can go ahead and turn on the heat. However, if you dont you will need to get in there. Clean off the road near the driver’s seat and the door first. The good thing about the latter is that you can enjoy a warm cup of coffee as you wait if you would like. 
  • Clear snow from the windows from the whole vehicle. You may be running late to work, and therefore you choose to only provide a peephole for yourself. However, it is important to clear off your whole car using a plastic scraper, soft bristle brush, or squeegee to remove the ice as it melts. By doing so, you are preventing any snow from falling off and creating a hazard for everyone on the road. 
  • Clear snow from the wipers: During these weather conditions, it is vital to have windshield wipers that work well. 

Tips to Diminish your clean-up time 

It is quite obvious that the best way to deal with the winter is to park your car in a garage or carport. However, when that isn’t possible, here are a few things that you can try to diminish your clean-up time. 

  • Get a car cover. another great option, and especially if you are wanting to take care of the paint job, is to use a car cover. Finding an affordable, one-time payment car cover may help you with the morning trouble and may even prevent spending more money.
  • Apply ice deicer spray to the windshield. These products will generally contain methanol, which is the best alcohol for deicing. However, they are pricey and some contain ethylene glycol, which is poisonous to pets. 
  • Place socks or bags over wipers and mirrors. If you aren’t wanting to invest in a car cover, you may use socks or bags over your wipers and mirrors to prevent them from freezing. Make sure to use rubber bands to secure them into place. 
  • Face your car east. If possible and if you plan on staying in for the night, try to park your car facing east so the rising sun and help melt the snow and ice. 

What to avoid when you are trying to remove snow from your vehicle

If you don’t care about the paint or your vehicle in general, use whatever method works best for you. However, if you are wanting to preserve the state of your vehicle, you’ll want to avoid a few things. 

If you have been looking on the internet for tips on how to remove snow front your vehicle, don’t fall into the temptation of pouring hot water on the windshield. In theory, it sounds like a great idea, but it can actually cause your windshield to crack. This is due to you adding high heat to something literally ice-cold. 

Another tip is to not pull on frozen windshield wipers, as you run the risk of ruining them. Instead use an ice scraper to chip away the ice. With this in mind, skip out on using the snow shovel to remove the ice or snow. It may be tempting to use it for large areas, but it will tear the paint up. 

Make sure that your vehicle is ready for cold weather driving

Cleaning snow off your vehicle is just one thing that needs to get done during the winter. It is essential to prepare your vehicle for the cold temperatures and any challenging road conditions. 

However, here are  some of the top cold weather driving tips to keep in mind if you plan on traveling:

  • Slow down. Anticipate that you will have to drive slower when there is snow or ice present on the road. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions. 
  • Be cautious on bridges, overpasses, ramps, and any shaded areas, as they are the first to freeze. 
  • Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the other vehicles, at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice. 
  • If you feel your vehicle start to slide, lay off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have traction, then straighten your vehicle. 
  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a glass scraper, flashlights, blankets, medications, and more. 
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. 

The Carlson Law Firm can Help

Unfortunately, even if you take all the necessary steps to prevent an accident, you can’t always protect yourself from negligent drivers. If you or someone you love has been involved in a winter car accident, contact us today to schedule. We care and we can help. 

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