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One thing about Texans: we aren’t used to snow. Unless they’re from another state, dealing with a vehicle covered in snow simply isn’t an issue many Texans have encountered enough to know about the dangers of leaving snow on a vehicle. While most of the time safety experts warn Texas drivers to stay off the roads during an ice or snow storm, sometimes driving is unavoidable. Even after road conditions improve, snow that’s accumulated on your vehicle may not have melted. In either of these conditions, cleaning the snow off your car can prevent serious hazards from occurring. 

What Are the Dangers of Not Cleaning the Snow Off Your Car?

The accumulation of snow on a vehicle can be dangerous and have significant impacts on both the driver and those around them. 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

Not cleaning the snow off your vehicle may block the driver’s visibility. Ice or snow may fall off a vehicle’s roof and onto the windshield, making it impossible for the driver to see. Failing to clear the snow from a car roof can lead to fender benders, or even worse, hitting a pedestrian if driving in the city. On a freeway, when there is less reaction time, it may even lead to a catastrophic accident. 

Dislodged During Transit

In addition to blocking visibility, not removing snow or ice from your vehicle can lead to the snow being 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 the vehicle, more specifically the tailpipe. Snow covering the tailpipe can cause carbon monoxide to build up in a vehicle, so it is important to remove the snow right away. 
  • Warm up your car: Turning on the heat in the vehicle can speed up the defrosting process. 
  • Clear snow from the whole vehicle. Those who are running late may be tempted to only clear off a small amount of ice and snow to provide a peephole for themselves. However, it’s important to clear off the whole car using a plastic scraper, soft bristle brush, or squeegee to remove the ice as it melts. Doing this will prevent any snow from falling off and creating a hazard for everyone on the road. 
  • Clear snow from the wipers: Don’t forget about about the windshield wipers. During these weather conditions, it is vital to have windshield wipers that work well. 

Tips to Decrease Your Clean-up Time 

It’s 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 decrease your clean-up time. 

  • Get a car cover. Covering the car can save time and energy by protecting the vehicle from snow and ice. 
  • Apply de-icer spray to the windshield. These products will generally contain methanol, which is the best alcohol for de-icing. However, they can be pricey, and some contain ethylene glycol, which is poisonous to pets. 
  • Place socks or bags over wipers and mirrors. Placing socks or bags over the wipers and mirrors can prevent them from freezing. Make sure to use rubber bands to secure them into place. 
  • Face the car east. If possible, try to park the car facing east so the rising sun helps melt the snow and ice. 

What to Avoid When Trying to Remove Snow From Your Vehicle

There are many methods of removing snow and ice from vehicles. However, to best preserve the state of the vehicle, it’s best to avoid a few things. 

First, don’t fall into the temptation of pouring hot water on the windshield. In theory, it sounds like a great idea, but the action of adding high heat to ice-cold glass can actually cause the windshield to crack. 

Another tip is to not pull on frozen windshield wipers, as this runs the risk of ruining them. Instead use an ice scraper to chip away at the ice. 

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. 

Here are some of the top cold weather driving tips to keep in mind:

  • 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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