The AA is calling for all forecourts to provide facilities for cleaning windscreens.
It reports that more than one in 10 UK drivers had to stop the car and clean dead flies and other insects off their windscreens by hand this summer.
Half again (14.8%) visited a fuel station and could have done with water and sponges or squeegees to clean off insect remains. Forecourts should provide the means for customers to clean their windscreen, say 46.5% of drivers.
A Populus survey of 20,630 AA members found that 2,102 (10.2%) of them have had to pull off the road at least once this summer because their vision was impaired. Half of the sample (49.7%) agree that sometimes screen wash and wipers aren’t enough to clear dried insect husks and smears from the screen.
But the AA claims that too often drivers have to use ready-to-use or concentrated screen wash or a car wash.
“The worst areas for fly hits are summer tourist destinations. Having to peer past dried insect husks, smudges and smears on the windscreen adds to the fatigue and can affect visibility on long journeys,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“Many of the smaller rural petrol stations and a few of the larger ones still look out for their customers’ needs by providing water and cleaning tools. Half of drivers think all garages should provide buckets of water to clean the windscreen.
“Elsewhere, perhaps buckets of water on the forecourt are deemed a health and safety issue although compact ‘cleaning stations’ are available to forecourt owners. More likely is the perceived competition they pose for sales of screen wash. However, the AA would argue that they complement each other and make a forecourt more welcoming.
“We appreciate that the petrol retailers campaign hard against the ‘hand car wash epidemic’ and drivers don’t like the traffic-light squeegee gangs who still occasionally pop up, but the ability to clean your own windscreen is completely different, and a road safety issue. A bucket of water is not too much to ask for if it makes driving safer.”