Is It Illegal to Drive with Foggy Windows? And How to Defog Them

Is It Illegal to Drive with Foggy Windows? And How to Defog Them

by / Monday, 01 February 2021 / Published in Michigan Law, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Tips
Fogged up window in a car.

Driving during the winter comes with a lot of annoyances. People often have to spend time brushing the snow off their car if they aren’t able to park in a covered area. It takes time for cars to warm up on cold days. That’s not even getting into the changes that people need to make to their driving behavior to stay safe on snowy or icy roads.

Another very common problem is that it’s easy for car windows to fog up in cold weather. But foggy windows aren’t just an annoyance, they can potentially be very dangerous if they make it too hard for a driver to see through the windows in the car.

What Causes Car Windows to Fog?

Even though foggy windows are a common problem during the winter, they can also occur at other times of the year. Windows can fog up anytime there is moisture in the air, either inside the car or out, and there is a difference between the air temperature inside the car and the air temperature outside. When it’s cold, this can happen when there is moisture in the air inside the car, often from the breath of the driver and passengers or from snow and rain being tracked inside, and the air temperature outside is below the dew point. Windows can also fog up on hot, humid days when the moisture in the air outside the car comes in contact with windows that are being cooled by a car’s air conditioning system.

Is it Legal to Drive With Foggy Car Windows in Michigan?

Section 257.709 of the Michigan Vehicle Code outlines the legal requirements for keeping windshields and other car windows clear. It includes requirements that specifically apply to things like window tints, signs, and displaying required certificates. But while this part of the MVC does not specifically state that fogged up windows need to be cleared, there are parts that broadly cover obstructed vision.

Section 1(C) of the code plainly states that a driver shall not operate a motor vehicle with an object that obstructs the view of the driver, except as authorized by law. If the foggy window is a car’s rear window, section 2 could apply, which states, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if driver visibility through the rear window is obstructed, unless the vehicle is equipped with 2 rearview mirrors, 1 on each side, adjusted so that the operator has a clear view of the highway behind the vehicle.”

How to Defog Your Windshield & Car Windows

Since fog can make it very difficult to see out of the windshield and other windows, it’s very important to make sure they get cleared up as soon as possible.

If your windshield and car windows are fogging up, check to make sure you aren’t using your car’s air recirculation feature. Recirculating the air will only keep drawing in dry air from outside the vehicle, making the problem worse. When it’s cold outside, the last thing you might want to do is run your air conditioner, but running it for a bit will help remove the moisture from the air while lowering the temperature inside the car. Opening your car windows for a little while will also help let some of the moisture out while keeping the temperature down. Using the defrost feature can also help defog windows, but it doesn’t help solve the root cause, which is the moisture in the air.

As tempting as it may be, do not try to clear off a fogged-up window with your bare hand. Doing this can cause oils from your hands to transfer to the windshield, which can give moisture in the air something to grab onto. Instead, keep a microfiber cloth in your car that you can use to quickly clear off a foggy window.

When your windows fog up on hot, humid days, this is an easier problem to deal with because the moisture forms on the outside of the windshield and can be cleared away with windshield wipers. But while this helps clear your windows, it’s still important to deal with the primary cause of foggy windows. Instead of turning up your car’s AC to the highest setting, which you might be tempted to do, keep the AC on a lower setting so that the temperature inside the car isn’t as drastically different from the outside.

Get Help from a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured by another person driving with obstructed vision, the best thing you can do is get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to help you understand your rights, answer all your questions, and fight for you to get the compensation you need. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have decades of experience helping the victims of Michigan car accidents. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your case.

Image: iStock / Dirmafilm