5 On Your Side

A warning to drivers: Clean snow, ice off your car

Posted January 9

As many determined drivers prepare to hit the road after being cooped up during the winter storm - a helpful reminder - clean off your car.

Last January, Kayla Acklie was driving on Capital Boulevard in Wake Forest when a chunk of ice broke loose from the back window of a passing car and hurtled toward her.

"It lifted off of his car and went flying through the air. It was completely airborne," Acklie said. "I could see it turning in the air. It was a huge piece of ice. You couldn't miss it."

Other people who have had a similar experiences sent their photos to 5 on Your Side, but now, people want to know the best way to clean off their vehicle.

  • You can start by using your car and its defrosters. Then try a good ice scraper.
  • Warm water can also help speed up the process, but make sure it is lukewarm - if it is too hot it could crack the glass.
  • De-icing spray can also be purchased, but tests found that the spray was not very effective on thick ice.
  • Next time, try covering windows with a towel, sheet, or piece of cardboard before dew or ice arrives. Use your wipers to keep it in place.
  • Use a broom or brush to remove snow and ice from the roof and trunk.

In some states, not clearing off a vehicle can end in a fine.

North Carolina has no official laws, but the Highway Patrol urges common sense.


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  • Rusty Shackleford Jan 10, 2017
    user avatar

    I like to think of myself as a safe and courteous driver, but I've also lived in the south my whole life. So I knew cleaning snow/ice off the car was important for visibility, but somehow this issue never occurred to me. Thank you SO much, WRAL, for bringing this issue to our attention.

  • Holly Squires Jan 10, 2017
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Sadly, most people don't have common courtesy nowadays. We're living in an age of "Me, Me, Me". It really irks me to watch cars rolling down the road with snow covering all their windows, with a streak cleared off where the wipers wiped it clean. There is no possible way they can see!

  • David McIntee Jan 9, 2017
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    There are fines in many States in the US. But putting additional government regulation aside, a little common sense and courtesy one would think need not be legislated.

  • Bobby Lee Jimmy Billy Jan 9, 2017
    user avatar

    What? Being accountable for you actions? No way - this is a Trump world now! Tough nuggies if you get hit.

  • John White Jan 9, 2017
    user avatar

    Things just don't change 30 years ago I had this happened to me. Ice flew off the car in front of me and all I could do was sit there and watch it come right at me. It went through my grill and took out my radiator. People are never going to change if after 30 years the same stupid thing keeps happening.

  • Joe Thomas Jan 9, 2017
    user avatar

    Wake up and get with it! Are people this really this stupid? You don't care about your own safety fine but don't put other people in danger because of your own stupidity.

  • David Lisle Jan 9, 2017
    user avatar

    OK. I'm sick and tired of ppl that refuse to clean off their vehicles. my tax dollars go to clean off the road and ppl keep putting more ice and snow on it.. In Europe its a very hefty fine to drive with a vehicle covered in snow. It confounds me how some think its ok to clutter the road and obscure the vision of other drivers because they are too lazy to clean their vehicle, especially when it is a safety issue! NC needs to make it a traffic offense to drive without cleaning of accumulated snow/ice! Before U start anything, I'm not talking about what naturally accumulates while driving through it. Specifically what is on your vehicle before you leave your driveway or wherever it was parked before the frozen precipitation occurred.