How a Dirty Windshield Increases the Risk of a Collision on Minnesota Roads

A dirty car windshield.

Dirt, snow, dust or other debris stuck on your windshield can reduce your visibility on the road and increase your risk of a collision, putting you and other drivers in danger.

TSR Injury Law explains what drivers should know about the risks of driving with a dirty windshield and the traffic laws on windshield obstructions.

If you were injured by another driver’s negligence in Minnesota, our Minneapolis auto accident lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation. We charge no fees unless we win your case, and your initial consultation is free.

Call for legal assistance today: (612) TSR-TIME.

Is There a Law About Driving With a Dirty Windshield in Minnesota?

While Minnesota traffic laws do not specifically mention dirty windshields, statute 169.71 says you are prohibited from driving any motor vehicle with a windshield so discolored it obstructs vision.

The same statute says every vehicle must be equipped with a device to clean moisture, including rain or snow, from the windshield. This device must be controlled by the driver of the vehicle.

If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver, and your lawyer can establish the driver violated one or both laws, he or she may be held liable for damages.

Why Windshields Get Dirty

Here are some of the main reasons why windshields become dirty or cluttered, impairing drivers’ vision:

The Environment

There are a lot of things in the air that could fall onto your windshield, such as pollen or bird droppings. Airborne dust could also land on your windshield, especially in dry weather. You may have a hard time clearing things from your windshield if you do not do so quickly. A significant amount of buildup over time can obscure drivers’ visibility.

Airborne particles are especially likely to stick to your windshield in urban areas, as there is a lot of air pollution.

Pollen and bird droppings are also likely to stick to your windshield if you regularly park your car by trees or bushes.


If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, you know driving at high speed for long periods can result in a lot of bugs hitting your windshield. You may also realize using your wipers to clear away the dead bugs can make things worse, smearing them across the glass.

Bad Weather

Streaks on windshields make it much harder to see everything in front of you. Streaks are often the result of a buildup of ice, snow or rain. These weather phenomena can also combine with dirt, particularly when you have old wiper blades. These weather conditions can also make the windshield blurry, making it difficult for drivers to see.

Grime From the Road

Things like mud or dirt can fly up into the air and onto your windshield because of other vehicles. This may be much more likely to occur after heavy rain or snowstorms. Driving through rural areas with muddy or gravel roads can also make it easy for mud and dirt to appear on the windshield.

Like dust or pollen, you may have a hard time removing them from your windshield, especially if they stay on the surface for a prolonged amount of time.

How a Dirty Windshield Could Cause a Collision

Driving with dirty windows or windshields puts drivers at unnecessary risk. These are some of the factors than can increase the likelihood of a crash:

Impaired Vision

Dirty windshields are extremely hazardous in bad weather, such as heavy rain, snow or fog. It can be difficult to see through these weather conditions and a dirty windshield will only further reduce your visibility.

Dirty windows can make it difficult to spot pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicles in your vicinity, increasing the likelihood of a crash.

You may need to squint often to make out what is ahead of you as headlights and streetlights can create significant glare, especially at night in rainy conditions. This can be incredibly dangerous when trying to make turns, especially left turns.

Glare and Reflections

Dirty windows create glare and unwanted reflections. When the sun or oncoming headlights hit a dirty windshield, it can be blinding, especially at night.

Worn/Inoperable Wipers

Although windshield wipers are essential for helping drivers see more clearly during bad weather conditions, such as rain or snow, they can also reduce visibility.

Using wipers on a dirty windshield could smear dirt over the glass, reducing visibility even more. Cleaning your windshield with a microfiber cloth and glass cleaner, or simply soap and water, can help remove residue.

Reduced Reaction Time

Dirty windows can delay your ability to perceive and respond to unexpected dangers. Quick reaction times are needed in hazardous situations – sometimes reacting a second or even a split second sooner can prevent a collision that results in serious injuries.

How to Keep Your Windshield Clean

These are some of the steps you can take to keep your windshield clean:

  • Clean your windshield on a regular basis: Make sure to use a quality glass cleaning product and a microfiber cloth. You should clean the inside and outside of your windshield. Cleaning the windshield is particularly important if you are regularly in areas with a lot of pollen and/or heavy traffic.
  • Replace wiper blades when they stop working as they should: It is usually best to replace windshield wiper blades once a year, and sometimes every half year. The clear sign your wipers are too old is when you flip them on, and they create streaks on the glass.
  • Fill up your windshield wiper fluid when it starts running low: This is something you can check every couple of months. Make sure you fill the reservoir up with the right cleaning solution. You will need to use a different solution in the wintertime – colder weather calls for a fluid with antifreeze. Another factor to consider is if the windshield washer nozzles are clogged. Check these when replenishing your wiper fluid.
  • Keep your vehicle covered: If you are able, park in a garage or under cover whenever possible. If your area does not have a garage, you may want to purchase a car cover. Covering your vehicle is one way to protect it from the elements, such as leaves, dirt or pollen.

Injured in a Minneapolis Collision? Contact TSR Injury Law for Legal Assistance

If you were injured in a collision caused by a negligent driver, you will have many decisions to make. One of the most important is the lawyer you choose to represent you.

You need an experienced law firm that has a proven history of helping crash victims obtain the compensation they needed for medical care and other damages. TSR Injury Law has been taking on these cases since 1998 and we have obtained more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

After a crash, TSR Injury Law is ready to assist you. Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, so there are no costs up front.

Call us today to schedule your free consultation: (612) TSR-TIME.

Call Now
Call now!

(612) TSR-TIME

Contact us and
schedule a FREE initial case evaluation

Free Case Review

No Fees Unless We Win

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.