Scraping Ice: Science in Action

Scraping your windshields is a challenge many of us have to face each morning, but is there an easier way?

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Frost makes a better door than a window, and it needs to be removed each and every morning it decides to show up on your car’s windshield – not only because you can’t see but it’s also the law.


Aaron Meyer, an officer with the Rapid City Police Department, explained the law.

“South Dakota has a codified law that states you can’t drive around with any nontransparent glaze or covering on your window,” Meyer stated.

Scraping your windshield is a fact of life in the Black Hills. It needs to be done. All the windows need to be scraped, including back and side windows – not just the little portholes that drivers desperately look through like a kid staring into a fishbowl.

If you are in a rush, there may be easier ways.

One popular idea is mixing one part rubbing alcohol with three parts water and spraying it on your iced windshield. This method was tried by NewsCenter1’s Brant Beckman, and it resulted with a smudgy snow/alcohol mixture that was difficult to remove from the windshield – not advised.

The second idea was a mixture of half vinegar and half water. This proved much more successful, if a bit pungent. Many spray their windshield with vinegar the night before to prevent frost buildup, but it seems to work well as a de-icing agent in a pinch.

Some methods that are NOT encouraged:

  • Credit cards – they scratch your windshield
  • Hot water – your windshield will crack and even shatter in some cases
  • Leaving it be and driving with your head out the window. It’s a good way to get a ticket and a numb face.

No matter your method, make sure you keep your windows ice-free before driving out on the roadways. Let’s be safe this winter.

Keep track of road conditions and the latest weather forecast at and by downloading the NewsCenter1 weather app for iPhone and Android.

Categories: Local News