Are You Driving a Snowdrift?

Car Driven Covered With SnowNow that the snow has arrived I've noticed so many drivers who don't clean off their vehicles. The wiper blade is the only cleaning tool used before driving and frankly that's a collision waiting to happen. Then there are the vehicles behind them who get the blowing snow off the roof and trunk of the vehicle. Oh, did I mention the back window hasn't been cleared either? Why someone would do something so stupid is beyond me.

This reader raises an issue that is often answered with the assertion that "I'm only going a couple of blocks" or "I don't have time!" Of course, neither of these answers can justify the selfish decision made by those drivers to impair either their own safety or the safety of other road users around them for the sake of staying warm and saving a few minutes of their time. If one of these drivers was struck by another who followed the same rule of thumb I suspect that this practice would not be acceptable to the driver that was hit!

There are three issues to be dealt with here. The first is that a driver must not move their vehicle unless their view to the front and sides is unimpaired. This means that the windshield and front side windows must be clear of ice and snow and defogged. Expect to be ticketed and directed to park until you comply should you choose not to do this.

What about the back windows? I dare say that a defensive driver would not drive without clearing these. For those that choose not to, remember that mirrors must provide you with an undistorted view to the rear. If you don't have a right outside mirror, that view must be provided by the inside mirror, so the rear window would have to be cleared. If you do, both outside mirrors must be clear as well.

Finally, snow left on your vehicle can be considered to be cargo, which "means all articles or material carried by a vehicle, including those used in the operation of the vehicle." Cargo must be secured before you drive so failing to clean off a cargo of snow and ice could result in an unsecured load charge. Oddly, the monetary penalty for cargo security violations is significantly more than that for driving when you cannot see properly.

Brush, scrape and clear before you go or be prepared to pay the price. Remember that the price could be a collision rather than a ticket and thinking "I should have..." is way too late.

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