Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cars with those spiffy snow hats: As dangerous as they are cute

Cars with Snow Hats: As Dangerous As They Are Cute
In weather like this, by the time you've got your windshield and windows brushed off (or shoveled out), you're probably exhausted, or freezing, or both. You figure you'll get the roof later. That's why lots of cars were driving around Madison today still sporting these spiffy white hats. They're cute as hell.

They're also dangerous. The problems is that, while the snow on top gets crustier and harder as time goes by, the foundation tends to give way at unpredictable moments as the car warms up. At first the snow pack seems held to the roof by countless icy, sticky fingers. Then suddenly, with no warning, the bottom layer melts from the warmth of the car and the whole thing can go flying. It might fly backwards when accelerating from a stop sign. No problem, except maybe to annoy the people in the car behind you if it all falls on the hood of their car. The real problem happens the other way around -- when you're in traffic and have to hit your brakes. The whole thing can slide down and cover your windshield, with the crusty snow on top holding it together as a single sheet that just sits there and blocks your vision until you can get out and clear the windshield.

I once saw this happen near Park and University, when a driver braked for student jaywalkers and the snow cap came down on the windshield like a shade. They were blind until they could stop the car (in traffic) and get out and push the snow aside. Nobody was hurt, but it was a close call.

It can take forever to brush a foot of snow off the roof. Forget the brush. Just push the snow off with a shovel -- a few passes will do it. You might be glad you did.


izzy said...

you might be glad you did, and i guarantee everyone who sees you WILL be glad you did.

Anonymous said...

I used to live near St. Mary's hospital and a neighbor there was an elderly woman in her 90s.

I heard that when she was in her 70s, she was walking across the street and was hit by a driver who had only cleared enough snow off of their car to peer out through a cleared circle on the front windshield.

Rumor had it, she had more than 30 broken bones and was hospitalized for a very long time. She must have been tough...she survived and lived into her 90s!

Anonymous said...

shovel? dont scratch your car up man! use a broom!

bonus: longer handle.

it takes about 60 seconds to clean all the snow off a car with a broom

Madison Guy said...

A plastic shovel will slide right across the snow on the bottom and not scratch the surface of the car. Just use it to push off the deep stuff, touch up with a brush. But sure, if you're worried about it, use a broom. The main thing is to get rid of the snow.

Joel Polowin said...

Suddenly blinding the folks in the vehicle behind you is also a very ungood thing.