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Why drivers should take the time to clear their vehicles

It looks like the dreaded polar vortex is making an encore appearance in the D.C. metro area. While the temperatures will be milder this time, the ice and snow that forms on windshields will be a hazard that drivers will have to contend with even before dealing with other drivers. Despite this hazard, some drivers will ignore it only scrape a small section of their windshields, leaving their window defrosters to do the rest of the work.

This is called “peephole driving,”  and those who do it may get away with it without having an accident, but the risk driving with only a small scope of the road creates several risks that can be avoided.

In essence, the time saved from scraping the entire windshield (as well as side windows and rear window) may not be worth the damages and injuries suffered by not seeing the road properly. D.C. drivers may have countless stories about peephole drivers who cut people off in traffic and have near misses with pedestrians.

Aside from the injury risks, peephole driving could have substantial legal implications. Remember, drivers in Northern Virginia have a duty to use reasonable care in operating their motor vehicles. Part of this includes checking blind spots, and this may not be possible if a window is obscured by ice or snow.

If such a failure plays a part in causing an accident, the offending driver could be held liable for the injuries caused by the crash. Because of this, it is prudent to take the extra time to scrape the ice and snow from your windows.

Source:, “’Peephole drivers’ ignore safety and laws when they don’t scrape their cars,” Kim Ode, January 5, 2014

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