We have all witnessed it. Driving down a highway after a heavy snowfall. Cars and tractor trailers moving along at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour. Suddenly you see a large chuck of frozen snow/ice hurling off of the top of an 18 wheeler, aiming towards your car’s front windshield. Sometimes the snow simply dissipates. Sometimes the windshield splinters into 100 pieces.
From the first winter storm, through the beginning of spring thaw, this endless cavalcade of flying white weapons happens with each snowfall. Usually in the beginning of Winter, drivers are a bit more diligent and willing to wipe the snow off of the body of their autos and clear the roof of ice. But after the 10th blizzard, many abandon cleaning the roof of their car and drivers often are forced to do a dance … dodging, weaving and maneuvering at 60 mph to avoid impact when the ice starts to fly.
Although (shockingly) no federal agency is currently compiling fatality statistics on how many automobile crashes and deaths occur due to flying ice, newspapers, broadcast news and even YouTube is filled headlines, stories and video relating to this subject.
Laws concerning the removal of ice and snow vary by state. In the last three years, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have passed legislation concerning this issue. New York law is still pending.
- *In Connecticut, State Law dictates that drivers "shall remove any accumulated ice or snow from such motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk and roof of such motor vehicle, so that any ice or snow accumulated on such vehicle does not pose a threat to persons or property while the vehicle is being operated on any street or highway of this state." Those who fail to do so can be fined $75. If snow or ice flying from vehicles results in injury or property damage, drivers of non-commercial vehicles can be fined $200 to $1,000. The penalties for commercial drivers are $500 to $1,250.
- *In New Jersey, drivers can be fined $25-$75 for failing to remove accumulated ice and $200-$1,000 if the ice flies off and causes injury or property damage.
It is comforting to know that states are beginning to notice that this is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed and are enacting laws accordingly. And manufacturers are also recognizing the need for merchandise that make snow cleanup quick and easy.
New products such as Covercraft Auto Snow Shields and Autosport Snow Shield Car Covers will enable you to remove snow from your trunk, roof and hood in a few minutes, simply by placing it over your car after you park and pulling it off before you drive away.
Cleaning off your car after a snowstorm, especially an icy storm, can be a brutal task. If you have an SUV like I do, trying to get the snow off of the roof rack can take 15 minutes alone. But it is worth it to clean your car properly before you leave, for the simple fact that flying ice can turn into a weapon that can damage another driver's car or even kill someone. Products exist to make this process easier and quicker. It is worth looking into them, simple to save a life. :)