February 7, 2011
By Jordan W. Charness
Regular readers of this column will no doubt remember that I have absolutely no love for winter. I’m not a big fan of cold temperatures or short days, lack of sunshine, snowstorms, biting cold winds, or hazardous driving conditions. Not only is it cold outside, it is very often freezing cold inside your car as well. This can lead to trouble.
This is what happened to Peter last week: he had an urgent 9 a.m. appointment, so naturally, every effort he made to get out of his house early backfired on him. He knew that if traffic was optimal, it would take him half an hour to reach his destination, but if there was a lot of traffic it would easily take him an hour. He managed to leave his house 45 minutes before his important appointment.
The first thing he noticed upon reaching his car was a thick layer of ice on his windshield. He rapidly scraped a little hole about the size of his fist right about the place where he thought he would be looking out the windshield. He figured that his windshield washer fluid would take care of the rest.
When he got into his car, he was surprised to find that even though he had scraped a hole, he still could not see through the windshield at all. A quick examination showed that the inside of his windshield was iced up as well. This meant that he would have to either wait for his windshield to defrost which he knew would take at least 15 minutes, or he could get his scraper out of the trunk which would take less time but would subject him to the freezing cold temperatures once again.
He opted for the great Canadian ice scraper, also known as a credit card. Using it, he scraped some of the ice off the inside of his windshield so that he could finally see outside. He then positioned his face in front of the hole he had scraped and proceeded to drive to his appointment. He had his windshield wipers on ‘high’ and his defroster blowing cold air from the yet to be warmed-up engine.
All the defroster blower did was blow cold air around. His windshield wipers didn’t have a chance against the ice on his windshield. His windshield washer fluid, on the other hand, helped a little. It did widen the ice-free zone on the outside of his window right up until it froze over to an opaque film. His windshield wipers brushed away some of the film, but he had to constantly apply windshield washer fluid in order to be able to see anything at all.
Just as he was beginning to win the ice wars, he ran out of windshield washer fluid, and just as that happened, he got doused with salt spray from a truck ahead of him, which reduced his visibility to zero. And at that very moment, a child stepped off the curb. Suddenly, Peter’s alarm clock went off and he awoke realizing that it had all been a nightmare, provoked by his fear of missing his important appointment.
Realizing that driving without being able to properly see out your windshield front, back and sides is both stupid and illegal, Peter made sure to clean and scrape both sides of his windshield before setting out on the road that wintry morning. What will you do with the ice on your windshield?