Get in the right frame of mind on car windows

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 31, 2017

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Police are warning drivers to make sure their windowpanes are visible so that their vehicles are not a pain to themselves or others on the road.

Michigan State Police Spl/F/Lt. Jim Flegel said objects that obscure the line of sight amid traffic can be dangerous and can impede defensive driving.

“It’s just like driving while distracted,” he said. “It distracts you. You cannot see any hazards out there.”

For instance, the driver’s view of the rear window should not be obstructed unless the vehicle has a side mirror on each side. In addition, according to Flegel, objects such as hanging fuzzy dice are prohibited if they can be seen as getting in the way of driver vision.

“When you’re driving, you want to make sure that your vision is not obstructed by anything hanging from the mirror,” he said.

The law allows “necessary” certificates and stickers that are deemed unobtrusive to be placed on a window. However, according to state law MCL 257.709, a front windshield, front side windows or sidewings may not have signs, posters or opaque material, nor any film except a narrow tinted strip of film along the top of the windshield and front side windows. 

In addition, the rear window and “side window to the rear of the driver”  may not be covered by any material that “creates a total solar reflectance of 35% or more in the visible light range.” Flegel said reflective windows can also pose an officer safety issue.

 “If you do get pulled over on a traffic stop, and the officer can’t see inside the vehicle, it presents a hazard to him,” he said. “He doesn’t know what’s going on inside that vehicle.”

However, the law says nonreflective, smoked or tinted glass is legal. Window treatments for photosensitive drivers may be allowed if the driver has a special note signed by a doctor or optometrist.

Simbol Auto Glass owner Reiman Samano said, in Michigan, tints can be added to certain windows such as the rear one, and doing that can protect a car’s interior surfaces, especially during the sunnier seasons. 

“It blocks off certain (ultraviolet) lights from getting into your car,” he said.  “Over time, (the UV light) damages your interior. Sunlight fades away anything.  ... The tint just provides protection.”

Find out more about the Michigan State Police by visiting www.michigan.gov/msp. Simbol Auto Glass in Hazel Park can be reached by visiting www.hazelparkautoglassrepairs.com or by calling (248) 284-0040.

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