I primarily practice law in Michigan, where as I write this blog we’ve been hammered for the last couple weeks with snow and our share of the “Arctic freeze.” And with every big snow, sure enough there are cars on the roads and highways that seem to have a crazy amount of snow on the roofs.
Normally, these cars are right in front of me. And I find myself watching fixated and knowing that if a huge chunk of ice and snow should be dislodged and start falling toward me, there’s almost nothing I can do.
But maybe there’s something the legislature in Michigan can do.
In Connecticut, the legislature has now pushed through a new and innovative law that requires drivers to clean off all the snow and ice from their cars before driving. The new legislation is being referred to as the “Ice Missile” law.
The law says that drivers must remove “accumulated snow and ice from the hood, trunk and roof of his or her motor vehicle so that it does not pose a threat to people or property while the vehicle is being operated on a state street or highway.”
Those who do not clear their cars of ice and snow can be hit with a $75 fine. And if the ice or snow from a non-commercial vehicle happens to cause personal injury or property damage, the penalty can jump up to $1,000.
Commercial vehicles – including semi trucks and buses – that fail to clean their vehicles face fines of $500 to $1,250 if any damage is caused.
As I said above, I primarily help people injured in car and truck accident cases in Michigan, where our own polar vortex has created treacherous driving conditions by dumping record-breaking amounts of snow on us so far this winter with temperatures well below zero degrees.
And so as I write these words and stare at the snow out my window, I find myself wishing that Michigan adopt its own “Ice Missile Law,” since we’ve all seen cars driving on I-75 and I-96 with 18 inches of snow on the roof, praying it doesn’t slide down in our lane of travel or get dumped on our hoods and windshields.
What to do if you are the poor soul with the 18 inches of snow on your roof? Here are some tips for removing large amounts of ice and snow from your vehicles this winter:
- Don’t use a shovel to remove snow from your car. The edges can get too close to the surface and leave scratches and gouges.
- Instead, use a method designed for automotive snow removal, like SnoBrum, which has a foam head for snow removal.
- Only use your ice scraper to remove ice from the windows. The hard plastic is too aggressive to be used on the surface.
- Don’t use hot water to melt the ice off of your windshield. The sudden change of temperature from freezing to very hot could cause the glass to crack or shatter.
- Remove large chunks of ice with your hands. When ice is pushed off the car, the bottom of the sheet will slide and leave fine scratches.
- To melt to ice, turn your vehicle on and let it warm up.