Native Chicagoans have more than a little experience driving in wintry conditions. Many of us are so used to the changes necessary for winter driving that they come as second nature. That being said, there are plenty of drivers out there willing to put the safety of others at risk because they are too lazy to maintain their car in winter.
We’re not talking about slowing down when conditions are slippery (which is also important). Rather, we’re talking about taking just two or three minutes to clear the car of snow and remove frost from the windshield/windows before getting on the road. Motorists who try to drive with a peephole-sized clearing in their windshield put everyone at greater risk of a car accident.
In some states, “peephole drivers” can face fines for failing to clear visual obstructions from their vehicle windows and windshields. Moreover, these drivers are at greater risk of hitting other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and animals because they naively think that everything they need to see will be visible through a Frisbee-sized clearance near the bottom of their windshield.
Unsurprisingly, peephole drivers are often the same individuals who think it’s appropriate to cruise down the highway with several inches of snow on their roof, hood and trunk. While it’s true that wind is sometimes an effective way to remove snow from the car, that snow may blow directly onto someone else’s windshield and cause a visual obstruction that ends in a crash. Failing to clear snow off your car is also grounds for a fine in some states.
Regardless of any laws and ordinances, however, the bottom line is that we all have to maintain our cars during cold weather. If someone causes an accident because of an obstructed windshield or excessive snow on their car, they could be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
So the next time Chicago gets blanketed in snow or cold weather coats your windshield with frost, take the time to clear your vehicle before hitting the road. Doing so could save your life.
Source: Valley News, “‘Peephole Drivers’ Ignore Safety and Law When They Don’t Scrape Cars,” Kim Ode, Jan. 5, 2013