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As you start your morning commute, you discover that a few inches of snow fell the night before. Not only that, but morning dew has coated it with ice, freezing it to your car’s surface. You’ve got to hit the highway or you’ll be late! In a pinch, you scrape off your windows for enough visibility, but ignore the roof and trunk, believing it will melt off on the way to work.

Unfortunately, the “melting” that occurs on the road creates a major hazard for you and other drivers, reducing visibility, sending projectiles behind and increasing your likelihood of getting into an accident. If you think that skipping this step in the short term will help you in the long run, think again!

1. Safety Hazards

removing snow from a car roof Falling snow and sliding ice pose several roadway dangers together, including:

  • Especially when you’re driving at high speeds, snow and ice can fly off your roof or trunk, creating what’s known as an “ice projectile.” When this hazard hits another motorist behind you, it can temporarily decrease their visibility, damage their windshield or cause them to swerve. On an icy road, this may lead to an accident.
  • When snow and ice start to melt, pieces may slide down your own windshield, blocking your visibility when you’re attempting to navigate slippery roads and unforeseen hazards ahead.
  • When ice and snow slide off at a fast speed, other drivers have less time to react.
  • Many drivers only scrape off part of their windows. Although time-saving, this shortcut decreases your field of vision. Snow and ice buildup can prevent you from seeing other drivers, increases your blind spot, reaction time and chances you’ll get into an accident.
  • When tractor trailers aren’t cleared, the ice and snow just don’t slide off a roof – they fall from a significantly greater height. This phenomenon has been known to severely damage drivers’ cars or, worse, result in a fatality. To combat this danger, many truck companies now use goal post-shaped tools to scrape accumulation off the tops of commercial vehicles.

2. Fines

In many states, including Connecticut, neglecting to clean the snow off your car before driving is illegal. As a result, depending on where you’re driving, you could be faced with fines for posing a hazard or damaging property.

In Connecticut, drivers are required to remove all snow and ice from their vehicle’s hood, windows, trunk and roof to the point it no longer poses a hazard. In Connecticut, General Statute Section 14-252(a), passed in 2010 and updated in 2013, applies to both personal and commercial vehicles. What can happen when you don’t clear off your car?

  • If your vehicle isn’t adequately cleaned off, you’ll be fined $75.
  • For non-commercial vehicles, if falling or sliding ice and snow result in property damage or personal injury, you may be fined anywhere from $200 to $1,000.
  • For commercial vehicles in a similar scenario, drivers will be fined anywhere from $500 to $1,250.

Keep in mind that, once a driver pays the fine, he or she is still responsible for the cost of any property damage or injuries to other motorists.

However, under Connecticut law, a driver isn’t responsible for snow or ice accumulation on his or her vehicle under the following conditions:

  • The car or truck is parked
  • Ice or snow is accumulating as a motorist travels through a storm

Were you injured after another driver failed to sufficiently clean off his or her vehicle? As you recover from your injuries and deal with an insurance company that won’t fairly compensate you in the aftermath, get assistance from Trantolo & Trantolo’s car accident lawyers. To learn more, contact us today.