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Could the 'drive a dirty car campaign' go too far?

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared that California was in an emergency drought situation. The need to conserve precious and dwindling water resources in the state prompted the "drive a dirty car" campaign. The public awareness push challenges residents to go an entire month without washing their car. 

The campaign has received more of a favorable response than some supporters originally may have expected. In fact, since January, water usage has dropped by 5 percent -- although the statistic doesn't specifically factor in the no-wash movement. "We had no idea how this would go down," said Nancy Broschart, management analyst at Ventura Water. 

The campaign is intended to save water, but could extreme supports actually put you at risk on the road?

Some of the more avid supporters of the campaign in Ventura are proud to drive vehicles that are literally caked in mud. In some instances, you can't even distinguish the original color of the car. The front windshield is clear only where the wipers can touch. The unfortunate part of this situation is that mud-caked windows create blind spots for the driver.

A driver can be held liable if his or her failure to reasonably maintain the vehicle causes a serious auto accident. Would failing to keep a windshield free and clear of debris, like mud, be considered a breach of the driver's duty to maintain the vehicle? It makes you wonder. 

Best advice: if you are going to participate in the water-saving campaign, just make sure that your windows and mirrors are sufficiently clean. Let's not save water at the expense of safety. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Car Owners Talk Dirty to Save Water," Miriam Jordan, Sept. 23, 2014

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