Marie-Claude Dulac

By Marie-Claude Dulac

March 2, 2016


How to Safely Clear the Snow Off Your Car

Article revised on 18 January 2018

When there is a snowstorm or an ice storm, it’s tempting to cut corners when clearing the snow off your car, or even to not do it all. But driving a vehicle that has not been completely cleared of snow can put your safety, and that of other motorists, at risk.

Whether it’s because you want to get out of the cold and precipitation by taking refuge in your car, or because you’re running late, being careless could also put a dent in your wallet!

What does the law say about clearing snow off your car?

Safe winter driving means being able to see clearly! You would think that goes without saying. But, think about all those times during the winter you’ve seen igloos on wheels drive by! Do you always clear all the snow off your vehicle? If you don’t, realize that being careless can not only be dangerous, but it can put a dent in your wallet too! The Highway Safety Code includes several fines for not completely clearing the snow off your car:

  • Reduced visibility? According to Article 265, “The windshield and the other windows of a motor vehicle must conform to the standards prescribed by regulation to ensure good visibility for the driver.” What’s the fine for a violation? Between $100 and $200.
  • Ice or snow chunks fly off a moving vehicle? Article 498 prohibits drivers from allowing “any substance to fall from the vehicle.” The fine for that is between $60 and $100.

Plus, chunks of snow or ice that fly off your vehicle could damage other vehicles or cause an accident. If this happens, you can be held liable and will have to make a claim with your insurer for the damage.
However, a few easy, quick steps can help you avoid unnecessary risks and keep you from contributing to some unpleasant statistics..

How to efficiently clear the snow from your car

First, select a good snow brush. Brushes with a polyethylene foam head minimize the chance of scratches frequently caused by traditional brushes with coarse bristles.

When clearing the snow off your car, remember:

  • Clean ice off the windows and windshield with a scraper
  • Loosen your windshield wipers before turning them on: If they are frozen to the windshield and you turn them on, you could damage the mechanism
  • Clear the snow from your headlights, hood, roof and back of the car
  • Clear the space around the wheels: If snow and ice accumulate there, friction wears out the tires. Combined with cold temperatures, this accumulation increases the risk of a tire blow-out.

Last tip: Be positive! The few minutes you spend outside to clear the snow off your car are far from being a waste of time. You get some fresh air, a little exercise and can be a responsible driver!

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