What Happens When Your Car is Hit by Flying Ice?

flying ice lg

Here in Ottawa, we’re no stranger to ice. We bet you were out scraping some off your car this morning!

Unfortunately, some people don’t take the time to thoroughly clean all the ice from their vehicle. Whether they’re late for work or just don’t think it’s necessary, instead of completely clearing the ice, they scrape away just enough so they can see out all their windows.

This leaves big chunks of ice on the vehicle, particularly on the roof. This happens to every kind of vehicle from regular cars and trucks to commercial and transport trucks. Whatever kind of vehicle it is, the end result is always the same. These big chunks of ice go flying off when the vehicle picks up speed, especially on major highways like the 417, leaving whoever’s behind these drivers at risk.

Flying Ice Can Cause Extensive Damage and Injury

Flying ice can come from anyone, is extremely dangerous, and will cause extensive damage to your car, including:

Just look at the footage taken from one driver’s dashboard camera when flying ice gave them a shattered windshield.

Warning: The following video demonstrates a windshield being struck by ice. No one was injured in this incident, but there are sudden movements and loud sounds.

It’s not just your car that is in danger: flying ice can have horrific consequences for the driver and passengers. It could even cause death.

Not only could the ice and windshield physically hurt you, but the impact could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, and hit others, causing even more damage and injury.

Who Pays for It?

Accidents caused by flying ice can happen even to the best drivers. So what happens when you do get struck by flying ice, and who pays for the damage?

When it happens, very often the car or truck the ice came from has no clue that they’ve caused serious damage, or even an accident. If you weren’t able to grab the license plate number, or you were unable to identify the transport truck company, it becomes exceedingly difficult to track them down.

This means that you’re on the hook for the repair costs. We recommend talking to your own insurance company to see what their policy is on damage from ice.

If you do happen to flag down the vehicle the ice came from, or get a plate, the police can help you sort everything out. Under the Highway Traffic Act, drivers can be fined for failing to clear off ice and snow. Depositing snow on the road is also covered.

According to Ottawa police, if the ice causes damage or injury, the driver could receive a charge of negligence.

As cases of flying ice damage are treated as motor vehicle accidents in most cases, you should be able to exchange insurance information and have it covered.

Prevent Flying Ice Damage By Taking These Precautions

You can prevent flying ice from hitting you, and ice from your vehicle hitting someone else, by following these safety precautions.

Clear ALL the Ice and Snow from Your Vehicle

This is the easiest and most important safety precaution to take. Clear all the ice and snow from your entire vehicle, not just your windows. One of the best ways to clear off all the ice without leaving scratches is to run your car to melt the ice. The only downside to this method is that warming up your car isn’t good for your engine.

That’s why you should also use a foam brush or wrap a microfiber towel around your existing brush to remove as much snow as possible while your car is warming up. These two materials will be gentle on your paint. To get the best clean without micro-scratches, pull the snow towards you from front to back of the vehicle.

A car cover is also a great way to protect your car, as it keeps ice from ever forming.

It might take you a little longer to clear off all the ice and snow, but it’s better to be a part of the solution to safer winter driving than part of the problem.

Keep Your Distance

This is a good rule of the road in the winter. You should leave 4 seconds of distance between yourself and the car in front of you. Pick a physical indicator - a light post or street sign will work. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting. If you pass it before you reach 4, you’re driving too closely.

Keeping your distance will help reduce the risk of flying ice hitting your windshield, as the further it goes, the more velocity it loses and the more time you’ll have to assess the situation and respond in a safe, defensive manner.

Brake and Accelerate Carefully

Sudden stops and starts could shift the ice on a car, causing it to slide off and hit someone. Even if you’ve cleared off all the snow and ice from your car, that doesn’t mean the person in front of you has. That’s why you should brake and accelerate slowly and carefully.

If the person in front of you accelerates suddenly, you’re going to be glad you have that 4 seconds of distance between you.

Look Up When Parking

Ice from vehicles isn’t the only problem in the winter. Falling ice and snow from buildings can be a big problem for cars. Just think of all the giant icicles you’ve seen on your neighbour’s house down the street, or the warning signs put out by office and apartment buildings.

When you park somewhere outside, and it’s near a building, look up. If there’s a lot of ice, you should find a spot that won’t put your car at risk.

Even without flying ice, winter conditions make for dangerous driving: that’s why we shared some winter driving techniques to keep you safe >

We Can Fix Your Shattered Windshield

Do you have a shattered windshield? Whether it’s from flying ice or something else entirely, we can set you right. Our auto glass technicians are fully trained and equipped to make all glass repairs. And the best part? We’re approved by all Canadian insurance companies!

We’ll repair or replace your windshield, and you’ll be seeing clearly in no time.

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