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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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9:16 am 12 Jun 19

Means u gotta start ur car 10 min Before you drive to defrost the windscreen and then ur car get stolen while warming up and insurance won’t cover it nah I will take $200 fine any day 😂

g210 8:54 am 12 Jun 19

An old fitted bed sheet clipped around the side mirrors does the trick.
Although rattling the sabre about fines is pointless in this town – there are almost no police on the roads so who is going to issue one?

8:41 am 12 Jun 19

I use a mix of isopropyl and water 50:50 cheap as hell works instantly

8:25 am 12 Jun 19

Use vinegar I read

7:59 am 12 Jun 19

or just put a towel on the windscreen overnight. Easy.

7:57 am 12 Jun 19

Watering pail, hot water done. Fyi, don't leave the windscreen wipers on the night before.... Morning showers are warm with a chance of aggro

7:39 am 12 Jun 19

I'm just going to leave this here 😉👍

3:09 am 12 Jun 19

Is that a threat?

2:11 am 12 Jun 19

Clear out your garage and put the car in it. Simple!

maxblues 12:10 am 12 Jun 19

I love global warming.

11:44 pm 11 Jun 19

A can of impulse also works and makes your car smell nice

10:54 pm 11 Jun 19

Poor water on it


10:41 pm 11 Jun 19

When I lived in Canberra, I 'reversed' the summer sun-shade. Just tuck it into the doors and clamp down with the wipers. Winning!

10:41 pm 11 Jun 19

Keep a store loyalty card in the car, scrape off the main parts(enough to be able to see out) then let the sun do the rest. That’s my tried and tested method lol

10:11 pm 11 Jun 19

Boiling water

9:13 pm 11 Jun 19

Put an old beach towel over your window and close the doors on the edges so the wind won't blow it away. Problem solved...

9:00 pm 11 Jun 19

warm water

8:57 pm 11 Jun 19

Turn the heater on, sit in the car and listen to the radio for 5mins works wonders

    9:15 pm 11 Jun 19

    Karyn Thompson that works if you don't have a slight crack in it.. just ask boot. 😂

    5:00 am 12 Jun 19

    Mini I had a small chip that turned into a huge crack. It made an interesting sound doing it.

    7:36 am 12 Jun 19

    Or Karyn Thompson you could buy a bottle of this like we did last year (still on the same bottle at the moment). Works brilliantly.

8:33 pm 11 Jun 19

Start your car 5 mins before you leave and turn the heater on your windscreen.

But that would mean actually being proactive and organised in the ACT and that won’t happen.

    10:32 pm 11 Jun 19

    Heaters a bad idea. Sudden change in temperature can cause your glass to crack.

    10:33 pm 11 Jun 19

    Tim Smith mate you live in QLD don’t you ? Leave the cold weather to us 😉

    10:34 pm 11 Jun 19

    I’m from Melbourne & been a glazier for 20 years. Just a tip. Take it or leave it

    10:36 pm 11 Jun 19

    Tim Smith Your car heater doesn’t heat the window to that temp as suddenly as you think ! They don’t come on that hot first up !

    9:24 am 12 Jun 19

    Tim Smith - Rot! The heater runs off engine temperature and there is nothing “sudden” about that.

    9:46 pm 12 Jun 19

    That's how I do it. Settle in and listen to the radio for 10 minutes or just close the eyes and enjoy a little quiet before the day begins.

    9:08 am 14 Jun 19

    Nexminit 9.45am 😳

6:50 pm 11 Jun 19

There is no way that using the heater to defrost your windscreen takes 30 mins in Canberra! I've been doing this now the frost is still mild and it takes 5 mins tops. It works with relatively cold air too.

Also, I wonder what the rules are regarding the side windows? I rarely defrost those but instead open them at every intersection until the heater and the wind have cleared them. It wakes me up...

    7:18 pm 11 Jun 19

    Thirty minutes might be an exaggeration, but depending on angle of windscreen and exposure to morning sun, 15 is not outside my experience.

    7:21 pm 11 Jun 19

    My windscreen doesn't get any sun on the driveway and I swear it's been taking only 5 mins. Mind you, the frosts have been mild and I don't usually leave before 7.30am.

    I have been known to roll down the driveway with frost on the windscreen and park on the side of the street that gets sun to speed up the process...

    2:13 pm 12 Jun 19

    Lin Van Oevelen 30 minutes or 5 minutes?????

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