(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
We’ve all been there before: Getting ready to go to work, maybe running a little late, then stepping out the door and seeing a cake frosting of snow on your car.
What do you do? How do you get into town in a hurry? Many Stevens Countians have their own methods to clean off their car.
Nothing is quite as exciting as driving behind a vehicle that has carved out just enough snow on its back and front windows to get a general idea of what the area is like outside. These can also serve as early warning systems for the soft-footed people of the valleys. You’ll see these snow-covered cars roll into town before winter actually reach the valley where Chewelah resides. It’s our own version of the Game of Thrones saying “Winter is coming” but without the beheadings and dragons.
That being said, a question that I have always asked was how long do I have to wait for the defroster to take care of a iced-over windshield? After a quick email to Chewelah Chief of Police Mark Burrows, I discovered that windshields and wipers are a requirement and they must be unobstructed.
How unobstructed? I’m going to have to consult my constitutional lawyer on this one.
I’m sure that is up to the officers’ opinion. As soon as the defroster clears a small half moon next to the dash, I’m off, looking out my car window like a submariner stalking Japanese cargo ships during WW2 through a periscope.
This, however, is also illegal, as it needs to be clear enough to see an unobstructed view of the road and any intersecting roads.
SO! The periscope method is out. This leads me to my next method of spraying the de-icer frantically onto my windshield only to have it refreeze immediately admittedly like I’m watching some sort of magical freezing spell cast by a wizard.
Sadly my car was not grandfathered into the law that according to the state, no vehicle sold after Jan. 1 1938 could be made without having a good pair of windshield wipers.
This makes me wonder if in 1938 people were complaining about government overreach, claiming windshield wiper requirements were the result of a nanny state. “What will the state make us do next? Wear seatbelts? If we can serve in the military, why can’t we drive our cars without seatbelts?!”
It also makes me wonder who was the first sap to invent the windshield after he got hit in the face way too many times with bugs. He’s probably from Chewelah. Have you seen the mayflies around here during the spring-summer months?
But back to modern times; when it comes to windshield wipers, you’re probably like me and use them the wrong way to hopefully scratch off some ice and free up the window. This almost never works and ruins the windshield wipers. Because of this, I’ve had wipers fly off while driving in traffic, or make a delightful metal- on-glass noise every time the wiper makes a pass.
This probably means I’ve been violating the state law that states every windshield wiper on a vehicle should be maintained in good working order.
But what can I say? Much like the Bundys taking over a wildlife refuge, this is my own little revolution against “the man.” Inslee probably wants to enact a tax on windshield wipers anyway.
(If he were smart he would tax windshield wiper fluid. I think I use more fluid than I drink water on a daily basis. I should probably get that checked out. Something might be wrong with me.)
There is also another alternative if you’re seeking a “wait for the windshield to melt the ice” method.
According to state law “on such vehicles not so equipped or where windshields are not in use, the operators of such vehicles shall wear glasses, goggles, or face shields.”
So get a nice pair of goggles and a big winter jacket for your cold-time driving? Totally skips the “warming up your car” problem.
Never mind the windchill would be -20, and your boogers will freeze to your nose.
Soon enough, things will warm up and we will try to get that other important thing to work in our vehicle: the air conditioner.