It happened again this morning. Driving to work my windshield was covered by the wiper overspray of the dirty car in front of me. My car was clean. Now it’s covered in a million brown spots of dirty water that have danced along either side of my car as I drive down the road. What’s worse is that I was driving early in the morning heading east so I, like everyone else on the road, had to fight the glare of the rising sun that is just low enough to highlight everything on my windshield: dirt, streaks, pit marks, dead bugs, pollen and bird poop. No matter how clean your car, how expensive your sunglasses (assuming you are wearing them), or how flexible the visors, it’s still a distraction (and a hazard) driving into the sun.
Add the layer of people who don’t wear sunglasses (it drives me crazy to see people squinting into the sun limiting even more their ability to drive safely), don’t have proper window visors (or don’t use them) and have dirty windshields. By the way, using the free squeegee soaking in dirty water at the gas station to clean the windshield helps a little but not much. Let’s not forget those who haven’t changed their wiper blades in years resulting in wiper blades as supple and flexible as a hockey puck, so the dirt and debris simply get smeared back and forth in large swaths across the windshield.
The stage is set: the drive has now become a hazard.
You’re on a busy freeway with No Sunglasses Guy virtually kissing your tailgate and Dirty Car Lady in front of you missing at least one tail light, maybe both, but it’s hard to tell with the glare. Dirty Car Lady can’t see due to the layer of gunk coating her windshield so she sprays her dirty windshield and turns on her wipers. A million droplets of dirty washer fluid fly in a graceful arc over the top of her car and land in tiny brown dots onto your car. She sprays again and turns the wipers up to their highest setting, which furiously smears the dirt across her windshield.
Now you can’t see because of the glare and the overspray. No Sunglasses Guy is squinting into the sun and also inches away from kissing your tailgate. You don’t want to clean your windshield because No Sunglasses Guy might run into you as he tries, in turn, to clean his windshield but you have no choice. You set off a domino effect of cleaning and splashing rows and rows of cars all speeding into the glaring sun. Now all of those drivers following you are ticked off at YOU because they don’t know that Dirty Car Lady started the whole thing.
You can’t do much about the glare but you can take the time to clean your windshield before heading to work (maybe while still in the driveway or parking garage). Or, better yet, just clean your car. That way the spray is a light cleanse that can rapidly evaporate rather than a mist of mud flung all over the freeway and all over anyone unlucky enough to be following you.
For those of you who don’t wear sunglasses – don’t drive on sunny days. For those of you who ride the tailgate of every car – don’t drive at all. For those of you who spray your windshield speeding down a busy freeway, especially at dawn or dusk, please stop.