5th January 2017
Having a clear, unobstructed view is crucial when driving and in winter there are many obstacles that can stand in your way. Take a look at our helpful advice and ensure that you clear your car effectively and stay safe on the road.
In winter, we often wake up to frost and ice covered cars. You should try to allow an extra ten minutes in the morning when temperatures are expected to freeze overnight to give yourself sufficient time to clear your car and make sure you can see out of all your windows.
Before attempting to remove any ice you should first switch your car on, turn on heaters and blowers and let it heat up. This will start to warm and melt the ice and will give you a helping hand. Next you should use an ice scraper, which are usually fairly cheap, to scrape ice from your windscreen, all windows and mirrors. If the ice is particularly tough, you could also use a de-icer spray that you can find in most garages or service stations.
Resist the temptation to clear your windscreen using your windscreen wipers as they could stick to the ice on your windscreen, causing the motor to blow a fuse or damage the wipers.
To help prevent an ice covered car you could try covering your vehicle with a tarpaulin sheet overnight to protect it from frost.
You should avoid defrosting your car windows with hot or boiling water. Whilst this is effective at removing ice quickly, it can also cause glass to shatter due to the instant change in temperature.
Once you have removed all ice from your windscreen, you will then need to think about the inside of your car. When you get in to your car and the temperature is low outside, your body causes the air to heat and this in turn creates moisture and condensation. This causes the windows and windscreen to steam up and this can affect your vision.
To clear your windows, you need to essentially dry the moisture from the air. Switch your air conditioning on cold, as cold air is dryer, and ensure that the air flow is directed towards the front windscreen. If you do not have air conditioning, your heating can do this effectively although it may take slightly longer.
If your air conditioning does not effectively clear your windscreen, it may be because the gas pressure in your system has dropped. This is common, as air conditioning systems need to be recharged every two years to keep them working effectively. Book a Mericoool air conditioning recharge online now.
Other ways to reduce condensation include closing your windows when it is wet outside or opening your windows when it is sunny to circulate dry air naturally.
During winter you may need to contend with rain, snow and sleet so it is important that your windscreen wipers are fit for purpose. You should check them for any signs of damage including any tears or frayed edges and have them replaced if you do notice such damage, as continued use could cause damage to your windscreen. You should also invest in new windscreen wipers if they have started making noises, such as squeaking, or if they do not effectively clear your windscreen with each wipe.
You should also ensure that your screen wash is topped up to a sufficient level to keep your vision clear. To do this, simply open the bonnet and visually check that the liquid in the screen wash container sits between the maximum and minimum lines. If it does not, you should refill it using screen wash. Check your vehicle handbook for guidance before filling your container.
When clearing your car of snow before setting off, don’t overlook your car roof! If there is snow sat on top of your car do your best to remove it as it could fall down whilst driving and obstruct your windscreen or fall in to the path of another vehicle.
There is also a risk of ice panels forming on the roof of your car and these will loosen from the vehicle as it heats up. As they loosen, these sheets of ice could then fly off your car and shatter the windscreen of the vehicle behind you.