Man, that dirty windshield is bugging me

Ahhhh. Finally home after a five-hour road trip. You couldn’t be happier until you realize that you’re going to have to wash the hundreds of dead insects you murdered on your trip (and are now stuck to your windshield, hood, license plate and grill) off your car tomorrow.

I’m willing to bet you’ve never sat around and actually thought about the number of bugs that lose their lives to windshields… but don’t worry. Arnold van Vliet, a Dutch biologist, has done this for us by getting 250 drivers from The Netherlands to track their mileage and number of bugs on their car over the course of six weeks. Here’s what he found. Caution: the results may shock you.

A total of 19,184 miles were traveled by these test subjects over the course of six weeks, after which the results were tallied: 17,836 insects had met their demise. That’s a lot of bug guts, but it’s not until you extrapolate that data across the entire frontal area of an automobile and the total number of cars in the world that your head starts spinning.

The friendly buggers from Treehugger decided to do a little math in an attempt to estimate the total number of insect fatalities in the United States. Are you sitting down? An astounding 32.5 trillion insects (estimated, of course) are killed in the U.S. each year by automobiles. Total insect genocide.

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Tragic, isn’t it? On a completely different note, let’s talk about a few methods of getting these carcasses off our shiny new cars. Of course we can try to use our windshield wipers, but who are we kidding? We’ll end up using the majority of it, and it won’t do anything but smear the bugs and make it even harder to see. There are plenty of household remedies people use, but they all involve having to go home and wash the car. There is a little trick I’ve learned recently, though, that serves as a quick problem-solver for those times we know we won’t be making it to the car wash immediately – a razor blade.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well it is! All you have to do is keep a standard razor blade (in a protective case) in the glove box. It takes less than five seconds to scrape that bug off and also won’t make an even bigger mess. Sure it isn’t the most glamorous method, but it works. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.  In the meantime, I want to share a little song with you. Don’t worry, it won’t get stuck in your head or anything…

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