Snow buildup on cars is risky, causing accidents and endangering road safety. In snowy conditions, drivers must clear their vehicles for safety, going beyond convenience. Neglecting this duty can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
Although Massachusetts does not have specific snow removal laws for vehicles, law enforcement officers can still issue citations or impose fines.
How is snow and ice on vehicles dangerous?
The average annual snowfall for Massachusetts is 49.5 inches. While you probably know that snowy roads are dangerous, you may not realize that snow-covered cars also contribute to accidents. Sudden snow dislodgment while driving can block visibility for the driver or other vehicles, potentially causing collisions. Icy patches falling from vehicles also pose threats to following traffic, creating hazardous road conditions.
To prevent accidents caused by snow buildup, drivers must take proactive measures. Regularly clearing snow from all vehicle surfaces, including the roof, hood and trunk, is necessary. Keeping side mirrors and lights free from snow and ice also contributes to safer driving conditions.
Using a broom to remove snow and ice from vehicles gives you a longer reach than if you use ice scrapers. Be sure that you also remove any stuck-on precipitation from your windshield and windows. You must have an unobstructed view to drive legally.
Does Massachusetts follow Jessica’s Law?
New Hampshire enacted Jessica’s Law in response to a tragic incident where Jessica Smith lost her life due to ice dislodging from a vehicle in 1999. A nine-foot long piece of ice dislodged from a semi-truck, hitting a nearby box truck. The box truck then hit Jessica’s car, killing her.
Jessica’s Law, which went into effect in 2002, emphasizes addressing dangers from snow-covered vehicles, requiring drivers to clear snow and ice before driving. The law aims to enhance overall road safety during winter, making it essential for drivers to fulfill this responsibility.
Massachusetts has not adopted Jessica’s Law, although several other states have. The state does follow the principle set forth in this law.
What happens if you do not remove ice and snow from your car?
Drivers neglecting to clear snow and ice from their vehicles may incur penalties, with penalties ranging from $40 citations to $200 fines. Repeat offenses can escalate consequences.
Excess snow and ice can possibly result in criminal liability if the buildup flies off your vehicle and causes an accident or damages other cars.