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

Glynis Quinlan 11 June 2019 145
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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145 Responses to Canberra drivers reminded to defrost their cars or face $200 fines
Suzie Lesslie Suzie Lesslie 6:02 am 17 Jun 19

Or cover the front windows with an old sheet and shut the edges into the door so it’s nice and tight

g210 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?

maxblues maxblues 12:10 am 12 Jun 19

I love global warming.

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