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Canberra drivers reminded to defrost their cars or face $200 fines

Glynis Quinlan 11 June 2019 152
Ice on car windscreen

Police say that every year when the cold sets in they attend accidents caused by drivers not having clear visibility out of their vehicles.

With the arrival of winter and iced-up windscreens, Canberra drivers are being reminded that they must have a clear view from their vehicle when driving – or face a fine of $200.

ACT Policing said that every year when the cold weather causes a build-up of frost or fog, police attend numerous collisions that have occurred as a result of drivers having poor visibility out of their vehicles.

Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Acting Station Sergeant David Wills said it’s critically important to be able to see from your vehicle while driving.

“We’ve had some very frosty mornings recently, and I’d just like to reiterate that if you can’t see out of your vehicle because of frost on the outside or fog on the inside, please don’t drive until you have a clear view,” Acting Station Sergeant Wills said.

“The legislation surrounding these matters is quite clear – a driver must not drive a motor vehicle unless they have a clear view of the road, as well as traffic ahead, behind and to each side of the vehicle.

“Drivers who operate a vehicle without a clear view through the windows face a fine of $200, which is an expensive alternative to simply waiting until your windscreens are clear and unobstructed.”

Windscreen repairer Novus agrees and urges drivers to avoid ‘portholing’ – which refers to driving while only one small part of your windshield is cleaned from the frost. Novus said this not only puts the driver’s life at risk but also the lives of other people on the road.

Police say that drivers must have a clear view of the road, as well as traffic ahead, behind and to each side of the vehicle. Photo supplied by ACT Policing.

According to Novus, there are six main ways of defrosting a car windscreen. These are:

  • Use water, but not boiling water
    This is one of the most common ways of defrosting a windscreen because it is cheap and does the job quickly. However, you should use lukewarm water and never boiling water, as this can crack the glass. Novus suggests using lukewarm water, defrosting the glass, and then wiping away the residue with a dry cloth or a plastic ice scraper.
  • Use an ice scraper
    This method is cheap but not so fast and effective. It can be convenient if you don’t have access to other methods, but annoying if you are already running late. The advice is never to use a metal scraper though, as this will scratch your glass.
  • Use your credit card
    Sometimes if people don’t have a plastic ice scraper they use their credit or debit cards to do the job. It will obviously take longer because it is smaller. The advice is to make sure you use the long edge of the credit card because that way you will be able to clean the bigger surface and the card will be less bendy.
  • Rubbing alcohol in water
    Novus suggests that another good way to defrost a windscreen is by using rubbing alcohol or isopropyl and water. Put 1/3 part water and 2/3 part isopropyl or rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and you are ready to fight the frost. However, if you do not want alcohol to damage the paint on the car, make sure to wash and wax it on a regular basis.
  • Use your heater
    If you have an extra half an hour or so in the morning, you can go outside and defrost the windscreen with the heater. Novus suggests turning the heat on max, turning the air conditioner on, and rolling down the window just a little bit. This will defrost your windscreen but takes time.
  • Buy a de-icer
    If you do not want to make the mixture up yourself, you can buy industrial de-icer. Novus says that it does the job quickly, can be kept in the car, and does not damage the windscreen.

Do you have a favourite method of defrosting your car? Let us know in the comments below.

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152 Responses to
Canberra drivers reminded to defrost their cars or face $200 fines
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6:47 pm 11 Jun 19

Cover the car with an old sheet or towel -peel off and hang to dry no cold fingers 😊👌

6:11 pm 11 Jun 19

Yep keep it in the garage overnight 😜

5:53 pm 11 Jun 19

Parking in the garage works best

5:40 pm 11 Jun 19

I'd like to see it policed!

5:31 pm 11 Jun 19

I did not know you got fined for this!! Good to know Sarah Blake

5:21 pm 11 Jun 19

cold water

5:19 pm 11 Jun 19

Wouldn’t a cardboard left on overnight help? Old fridge box etc?

5:10 pm 11 Jun 19

Ethan Rosin might need to read this buddy....

4:51 pm 11 Jun 19

Isn't leaving your vehicle unlocked let alone with the key and vehicle running already a fineable offence

Also a driver's license is much more effective than a credit card

    6:52 pm 11 Jun 19

    I actually sit in my car while I wait for the heater to do its thing. Takes a few minutes.

    11:05 pm 11 Jun 19

    Scott Blackman or you can leave it running, locked, and keep the key in your pocket. That is if you have a keyless ignition car.

4:49 pm 11 Jun 19

Old blanket takes seconds to throw it on or remove it in the morning.

4:40 pm 11 Jun 19

Ellen South, you're welcome 😂

    5:38 pm 11 Jun 19

    Elise Apolloni thank you! I reckon my work name badge will be a better ice scraper than a credit card 😆

4:19 pm 11 Jun 19

Bucket of warm water thrown on..

4:18 pm 11 Jun 19

Remembering of course that ‘use your heater’ requires you to leave someone over the age of 16 in the vehicle...

4:15 pm 11 Jun 19

I'm old enough to recall when Bankcards were distributed to all and sundry, without application. We kept ours and used it to scrape ice off the back and front screens whenever we went out! Lots of folk did this!

3:41 pm 11 Jun 19

Towel over the windshield before bed

3:39 pm 11 Jun 19

Warm water and squeegee

3:16 pm 11 Jun 19

Kathy Carter-Jones We know the 2 ways not to do 🤣

3:15 pm 11 Jun 19

Use this stuff melts instantly and doesn't refreezer.

3:10 pm 11 Jun 19

Stay home in bed.

3:07 pm 11 Jun 19

I use hot water from the kettle. After the windscreen has shattered and been removed the first time, I find that it's impossible to ice up the next time.


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