Man cleaning snow and ice off of his car in winter.
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The Importance of Cleaning Your Car Off Properly in Winter Weather

The Winter Ritual: Safeguarding Your Safety by Properly Cleaning Your Car

As the icy winds of winter sweep across Canada, ensuring your car is properly cleaned off becomes a critical aspect of road safety. In this blog post, we delve into the importance of diligently removing snow and ice from your vehicle before hitting the road.

The Perils of Neglecting Snow Removal From Your Vehicle:

Neglecting the task of cleaning snow off your car can lead to a cascade of hazards. Snow accumulation on the roof and hood can transform into dangerous projectiles when driving, posing a threat to both the driver and other road users. In addition to snow, ice accumulation on windows and mirrors significantly impairs visibility.

Legal Implications:

Driving with snow-covered vehicles is not just a safety concern; it can also have legal consequences. Canadian law mandates drivers to clear their vehicles of snow and ice to prevent accidents. Here’s a brief overview of the laws in New Brunswick (NB), Nova Scotia (NS), and Prince Edward Island (PEI):

New Brunswick (NB): In New Brunswick, it is a legal requirement to ensure that your vehicle is free of snow and ice before hitting the road. Section 174(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act states that “a driver of a vehicle on a highway shall at all times operate the vehicle with reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.” This includes taking precautions to prevent snow and ice from dislodging and posing a hazard to other road users.

Nova Scotia (NS): In Nova Scotia, similar regulations are in place to ensure that vehicles are adequately cleared of snow and ice. Section 179 of the Motor Vehicle Act outlines the obligation of drivers to have a clear view of the road and traffic ahead. This includes keeping windows, mirrors, and lights unobstructed.

Prince Edward Island (PEI): Prince Edward Island also has regulations in place to address the safety concerns associated with driving snow-covered vehicles. According to Section 139 of the Highway Traffic Act, drivers must ensure that their vehicles are free of accumulated ice and snow, particularly on windows and mirrors.

Failure to comply with these regulations could result in fines. The specific penalties may vary, and it’s advisable to check for any updates to the Motor Vehicle Act or consult with legal authorities for the most accurate information.

It's crucial to note that these summaries are for informational purposes, and individuals should refer to the specific legislation or consult with legal professionals for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding driving with snow-covered vehicles in each province.
Police car parked on the side of a Maritime road in bad winter weather.
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island mandates drivers to clear their vehicles of snow and ice to prevent accidents.

Best Practices for Winter Car Cleaning:

Transitioning from the risks to the solutions, we outline the best practices for cleaning your car during the winter months.

Here are five quick tips:

  1. Start with the Roof: Begin by clearing snow from the roof of your car. Snow on the roof can slide down and obstruct your view or create hazards for other drivers. Use a snow brush or broom to remove accumulated snow.

  2. Clear All Windows and Mirrors: Ensure that all windows, including the front and rear windshields, and side mirrors are completely cleared of snow and ice. This is crucial for maintaining visibility while driving.

  3. Remove Snow from Lights: Clear snow from all external lights, including headlights, taillights, and turn signals. This improves your vehicle’s visibility to other drivers and ensures that signals are visible.

  4. Don’t Forget the Hood and Trunk: Clear snow from the hood and trunk of your car. This prevents loose snow from blowing onto your windshield or the windshields of other vehicles while driving.

  5. Clear Ice Buildup: If there’s ice on your windows or mirrors, use an ice scraper or de-icing solution to remove it. Make sure your vehicle is free of any ice that might impair your vision or pose a hazard…this can include around your wheels.

Young woman cleaning her car off after a maritime snow storm in winter
If there's ice on your windows or mirrors, use an ice scraper or de-icing solution to remove it.

Remember to take your time and thoroughly clear all surfaces of your car before heading out in winter conditions. It contributes to your safety and helps create a safer environment for everyone on the road.


In the battle against winter’s harsh elements, taking the time to thoroughly clean your car emerges as a frontline defense. Not only does it protect you and fellow drivers from potential accidents, but it also aligns with legal responsibilities. As we navigate the snowy landscapes of Canada, let us prioritize safety and make winter driving a collective effort towards accident-free roads.

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