Having ice on your windshield while driving becomes dangerous very quick. You can be driving along fine, but all the sudden it freezes up and makes it impossible to see out of. When this happens, it’s important to know how to keep the windshield from freezing while driving. Understanding what causes it and how to prevent it will make driving in cold weather a cool breeze.
To keep your windshield from freezing while driving, turn your defrosters on. Close other vents to make sure the highest amount of heat is reaching your windshield. Have winter wiper blades that are meant to withstand colder temperatures. Use winter de-icing windshield wiper fluid that is meant to work in colder temperatures. Warm up your vehicle before driving to remove ice on the windshield before starting your drive. Check weather conditions before leaving and be aware of changing weather while driving. To keep the windshield from freezing while driving:
- Warm up vehicle before starting to drive.
- Turn on defrosters. Consider closing other vents to localize heat on the windshield.
- Use winter wiper blades.
- Use cold weather de-icing windshield wiper fluid.
- Always be aware of changing weather conditions.
Anyone who has driven through cold weather knows about ice. When it covers your windshield, it can be downright scary. There are ways to prevent this from happening, as well as tips on what to do if it happens while driving.
- 1 Quick Answer
- 2 How To Keep The Windshield From Freezing While Driving
- 3 Top Five Windshield De-Icers
- 4 How To Keep Windshield Wipers from Freezing While Driving
- 5 Will Cold Water Crack A Frozen Windshield?
- 6 Be Prepared: Tips to Prepare Your Car for Bad Weather
- 7 Wrap Up
How To Keep The Windshield From Freezing While Driving
Ice on the windshield can turn your favorite drive into a nightmare. Learn how to prevent the windshield from freezing while driving, and what to do if it happens to you.
Safety: What to Do If Your Windshield Freezes While Driving
Low visibility makes for a difficult drive. Even if you warmed up your vehicle, there are instances that cause your windshield to freeze while driving. Poor windshield wipers or the wrong wiper fluid can compound this effect. Here’s what to do if your windshield freezes while driving:
Step 1: Slow your vehicle down* – Slow your vehicle to under 50 miles per hour. If you can clear away any ice, this slower speed will prevent further ice buildup.
*If it is too dangerous to drive, or if you cannot see out of your windshield at all, pull over to a safe place. Put your hazard lights on to alert passing vehicles of your location.
Step 2: Turn defrosters on high – If they’re not already on, turn your defrosters on high to get heat to the windshield. Close other vents to get as much air moving to the windshield as possible. If you find your windshield continues to re-freeze, turn the heat down and send cooler air to the windshield instead.
Step 3: Turn windshield wipers on – This will clear any chunks of ice from the windshield. As your defrosters start to work, the ice on the windshield will melt. Your windshield wipers can then clear away the melted ice and leave your windshield clear.
Step 4: Use windshield wiper fluid – De-icing windshield wiper fluid is meant to clear away snow and ice. Use the fluid if your windshield freezes up while driving. Combined with the heat from the defrosters, it should be enough to clear away any ice on the windshield.
Step 5: Scrape off any remaining ice – If you are pulled over and it is safe to get out of your vehicle, use a plastic ice scraper to remove any remaining ice on the windshield.
What Causes A Windshield to Freeze While Driving?
Several factors can cause a windshield to freeze up while driving. Pay close attention to changing weather conditions, as well as the weather conditions inside the vehicle. These will all contribute to causing a windshield to freeze while driving.
Failing to warm up the vehicle: This is the easiest way to prevent the windshield from icing up while driving. Some of us may be late for work, or in a hurry not to miss a birthday, but taking the time to properly warm up a vehicle will save you time in the end. When the windshield is cold or already icy, driving will only make the issue worse.
Snow and sleet: Wintery weather may be nice to look at from the safety of your warm home but driving in it can be hard. Snow and sleet can build up on the windshield if it’s coming down fast enough. This can cause the windshield to freeze if paired with poor windshield wipers or poor de-icing windshield wiper fluid.
Humidity inside the vehicle: Ever wondered why you found frost on the inside of your windshield? The culprit is humidity that gets trapped inside the vehicle. If you start your drive above freezing temperatures and find the temperature rapidly dropping, it’s possible for the moisture inside the vehicle to freeze on the inside of the windshield.
How To prevent Your Windshield from Freezing While driving
Prevention is the key. If you take the steps to prevent your windshield from freezing while driving, you can ensure a safe, visible commute to your destination. Failing to do so can cause visibility issues on the road and put yourself and others at risk.
- Warm up the vehicle before driving
When it comes to preventing your windshield from freezing while driving, a properly warmed up vehicle is the easiest step to take. You can turn the car on and turn the defrosters on before your time to leave to prevent being late to your destination.
Warming up the vehicle will increase the temperature inside the vehicle. The most important part of this is warming up the windshield. Even if there is not ice currently on the windshield, warming up the vehicle will help prevent the windshield from cooling and freezing while driving, especially in winter weather conditions.
- Turn on the defrosters
Turning on the defrosters will send heat to the windshield. In addition to warming up the vehicle before driving it, turning the defrosters on will help warm the windshield, melting any current ice before starting your drive.
Having the defrosters on while driving in cold weather will help prevent ice from forming on the windshield. This also helps with any fogging issues if the temperature changes rapidly during your drive.
- Use winter wiper blades
Not all windshield wipers are made the same! It may surprise you to learn there is a difference between summer windshield wipers and winter wipers. Just like winter tires, winter wiper blades are made to help you drive in bad conditions.
Winter wiper blades have an added layer of rubber that protects them from icy and snowy conditions. This protective layer allows them to keep moving, while summer blades may freeze up and can’t move.
Winter wiper blades are also heavier than summer blades. Summer blades are meant to clean rain from your windshield, not snow. The heavier winter blades can handle heavy, thick snow that can pile up on your windshield while driving.
- Use cold weather de-icing wiper fluid
Windshield washer fluid is a necessity in any weather conditions, even sunny. There’s always the chance of a rogue bug or mud splattering on your windshield. In winter weather, it’s important to have the right wiper fluid.
Cold weather windshield wiper fluid is different than regular warm weather fluid. It is designed to defend your windshield against ice and snow by melting the precipitation on the windshield. Some fluids even boast that they prevent dangerous re-freezes.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions
We no longer have to turn on the television and watch the weather channel to figure out if it’s going to snow or not. Using our phones or computers we can quickly check the weather, see the hourly, and even check other areas for their weather conditions.
You should always be aware of the changing weather and plan accordingly before a drive. If it’s sunny when you leave, that doesn’t mean it will be sunny an hour from now, or even twenty minutes from now. Fast changing weather can be a dangerous hazard. Always use caution, and be prepared.
In conclusion, knowing how and why a windshield freezes while driving gives you the tools to be a safe, well-informed driver on the road. It’s an important responsibility to be as prepared as possible for any problem, including icy conditions.
Top Five Windshield De-Icers
Not all windshield wiper fluid is made the same. Some are for summer months only, while others are designed specifically for the winter months. Some de-icing fluid can also be used in both summer and winter. These are commonly referred to as all-season or four-season wiper fluid.
Prestone all season 3-in-1 windshield washer fluid: This windshield wiper fluid works in all weather conditions. It’s rated to protect against temperatures down to -27°F (-32°C). It has a de-icing component that melts ice quickly.
Rain-X all season 2-in-1 windshield washer fluid: Rain-X is a popular brand for windshield wipers and fluid. This particular wiper fluid is an all-season formula rated to -25°F (-31°C). it also has a hydrophobic protection that helps bead water from the windshield.
Prestone De-Icer Windshield Washer Fluid: While Prestone has an all-weather washer fluid, this washer fluid is designed especially for winter. It is made to remove ice and frost from the windshield. It also contains ethylene glycol to prevent re-freezing.
McKee’s 37 anti-frost windshield washer fluid: Unlike the previous listings, this is not simply dumped into your fluid reservoir. This gets added to existing wiper fluid and is highly effective against winter conditions such as heavy snow and ice.
DIY: If you’d rather make it yourself, there are plenty of resources online to make your own windshield wiper fluid. It’s important to keep the fluid in a sealed, labeled container to reduce the risk of unwanted exposure or ingestion. This is a great option if you want to save money.
How To Keep Windshield Wipers from Freezing While Driving
There’s nothing worse than turning your wiper blades on and realizing they are frozen to the dash while driving. There are several techniques that can be used to prevent wipers from freezing. Rubbing alcohol prevents wipers from sticking to the windshield but is only a quick-fix that will not last.
Heated windshield washer fluid or heated windshield wipers can come in a ‘cold-weather’ package for your car and can help prevent frozen wipers. Using de-icer windshield washer fluid will also help cut through ice and prevent wipers from freezing.
Will Cold Water Crack A Frozen Windshield?
No. Cold water is a better alternative than pouring hot water on the windshield. Hot water can easily crack or even shatter a windshield due to the extreme temperature changes. It’s safer to use cold water, but the best method is to simply turn the car on for five minutes, then turn the defrosters on and let the vehicle warm up on its own.
Be Prepared: Tips to Prepare Your Car for Bad Weather
It’s never fun being stuck somewhere when you’re unprepared. Whether you’ve run out of gas, got stuck in the snow, or got in an unexpected fender bender, you might be stuck waiting for hours for help. The best thing you can do is prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
Pack an emergency bag: Have an emergency bag ready. Pack it with supplies such as a blanket, flashlight, cord or rope, gloves, hat, basic tools, matches, freeze-dried food.
Always charge your phone before leaving: A cell phone can be a lifeline in an emergency. Keep it charged. Even if you have no service, there are ways that emergency services can find you by your phone.
Bring Water: It’s not always safe to keep water in the car for long periods of time due to leeching plastics. Bring water with you when you’re driving somewhere as a precaution.
Tell someone where you’re going: If you’re taking a road trip, going hiking, or just taking a drive to clear your head, it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone.
Driving in bad weather can be an anxiety-filled trip if not well prepared. Make sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is full of the correct-season fluid and that you have taken steps to prevent your windshield from freezing while driving. We all have a responsibility to be safe when driving.
Hi, I am Brad. Car Independent is your source for independent views on cars and car accessories. Whether you looking to buy a new car or something cool for your car, you have many options. My aim to help you make the best-informed choices.