While no one likes having to scrape snow and ice off their vehicle the morning after a snowstorm, it’s a necessity for everyone’s safety. Connecticut, along with 10 other states, have snow removal laws for drivers. The buildup can block your view and creates a hazard for other drivers when it flies off your roof.

In Connecticut, the law concerning snow accumulation on your car states the windshield should be free of obstructions. Drivers can also be fined for ice and snow falling from their car’s roof, as it can endanger other motorists and pedestrians or cause damage to property.

Before you’re tempted to take a chance and leave your driveway without cleaning off the accumulation, here’s what you should know about the dangers of driving with ice and snow on your car.

Decreased Visibility

removing snow from carOne of the more prominent risks, driving with snow on your car can decrease visibility. As a result, your chances of hitting another car, pedestrian or colliding with property increases.

As you start to drive, once-stubborn snow and ice covering your roof begins to melt, sliding down the front and rear windows. Even for a split second, this can obscure your view. You may not be able to fully see any other vehicles, animals or people traveling toward you.

At the same time, large chunks can become airborne when they fall off your roof or trunk, turning into projectiles that can hit the vehicles behind.

As another risk, snow accumulation on your hood can fly up toward your window, obstructing your view with a powdery cloud. When ice on the road is added into the picture, you can quickly lose control if you can’t clearly see what’s ahead, making you a hazard to everyone else.

Dangers to Other Drivers

Large sheets or chunks of ice can fly off a vehicle in all directions. These chunks may hit the pavement by the side of the road, but may also travel toward another vehicle or a pedestrian waiting to cross the street.

Also known as “ice missiles”, these hard pieces can damage windshields when traveling at high speeds or distances. In more extreme cases, the impact may be strong enough to completely shatter the glass and injure the driver or passengers inside a car.

Secondarily, the lack of predictability on where these flying chunks of ice will land can cause other drivers to swerve to get out of the way. These drivers may collide with other motorists or property and, on a very slippery roadway, there’s a higher risk of losing control.

What Does the Law in Connecticut Say?

To help reduce these risks and keep everyone safe in unpredictable winter weather conditions, Connecticut’s General Statute Section 14-252(a) requires both commercial and non-commercial drivers to clean ice and snow off their vehicles before traveling on the road. This includes the roof, trunk and hood. Motorists spotted without thoroughly cleaning off their vehicle will be fined.

Should the ice fly off and hit another vehicle or person, the fines increase sharply. Non-commercial drivers will face up to $1,000 and commercial drivers up to $1,250. Furthermore, these fines do not cover the cost of property or vehicular damage or any resulting medical bills.

However, the state law makes exceptions. In Connecticut, you won’t be fined if the ice and snow start to accumulate as you’re driving or if your car is parked and accumulation occurs while the vehicle is stationary. Regarding this last point, if you do park then go to drive again, you’ll be expected to clean off all accumulated ice and snow before entering the roadway.

How to Avoid Ice and Snow Buildup

To prevent having to scrape off your car on snow-covered mornings:

  1. Keep your vehicle covered, especially if the forecast anticipates snow or sleet. If available, park inside a garage or beneath a carport.
  2. Consider a quicker snow-removal method. Rather than starting with an ice scraper, use a snow broom to brush off any accumulation before going after the ice. This method can further reduce any potential damage to the paint and glass.
  3. To quickly melt ice, some people recommend spraying the car’s windshield with two parts rubbing alcohol and one part water before ice forms. Rubbing alcohol doesn’t freeze and prevents ice from sticking to the surface. This mixture can also de-ice a frozen windshield the morning after a storm.

Were you or a loved one involved in a winter car accident? If you’re recovering from injuries, you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. Trantolo & Trantolo’s car accident attorneys are here to assist you. To pursue a claim, contact us today.