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Clear off your car windows or get a ticket

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IDAHO FALLS — In the winter, some drivers may be in such a rush to get to their destinations that they don’t prepare their vehicles.

Turns out, if you don’t clean the snow and ice properly off of your windshield, you could get an infraction of $67 from Idaho State Police.

“It (your windshield) needs to be cleared. If you don’t have your passenger side window scraped off, you can’t see. You are blocking off a large majority of your vision and your scope to see what other drivers are doing and whether or not you have the ability to pull out or not pull out or to see what other traffic is doing,” ISP Lt. Marvin Crain said. “When you are not scraping off the full windshield, you are really bringing the percentage of your view down.”

Crain said police see it happen often. In fact, during an interview with Crain and EastIdahoNews.com on Wednesday, Crain said he saw a vehicle drive near him with a covered-up windshield in Rigby.

“There’s a guy that just pulled into Maverik, and I am going to have a visit with him,” said Crain on the phone to EastIdahoNews.com. “He hasn’t scraped the snow off of his car at all, and the rear window is completely covered in snow, and the mirrors are covered too. So he’s actually required to have visibility to the rear.”

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Covered up rear windshield in Rigby that ISP Lt. Marvin Crain found. | Courtesy ISP Lt. Marvin Crain

Crain said that some crashes that ISP responds to are caused by an obstructed windshield because the driver missed seeing another vehicle or pulled out from a stop sign when they shouldn’t have.

“If you were involved in a crash due to that, you could get the $67 fine for the obstructed windshield and, say, you failed to yield from a stop sign, you’d get that penalty also for failure to yield from a stop sign,” he said.

Crain said to always have an ice scraper in your vehicle available and to prepare ahead of time.

“Build into your schedule a few minutes early, to start your car before your day starts so that the motor can warm up, and it’s blowing warm air onto your windshield that defrosts it,” he said. “Then just take a second to use your ice scraper to scrape all your windows.”

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