It’s your responsibility to clear your car after a snowfall

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With each snowfall, comes responsibilities – the city and state must salt, sand and plow the roads. We citizens have our responsibilities too; we have to clear our driveway, walkways, sidewalks and cars.

However, with each snowfall, we see the same laziness or ignorance of the law and responsibilities and these create added dangerous conditions to the already dangerous conditions on the road. It is difficult enough to drive in wintry conditions, so making it even more dangerous for yourself and others ends up doing no one any good.

The vast majority of the issues stem from laziness and in some cases, it’s ignorance. Not ignorance in a demeaning or insulting way, but in a manner that simply means not knowing. However, in this information age and with people glued to their computers and smart phones and the information circulating everywhere, there is really no excuse. You don’t want to actually focus on the information and follow it AFTER you’ve been in an accident, harmed yourself or others or even worse cause mortal injury.

After someone reads this, the only excuse left is sheer laziness. This is when you are taking a gamble with your health, wallet, and the health of others – a gamble that you will eventually lose. It’s only a matter of time before you are in an accident, get a ticket that also raises your insurance rates, or cause an accident. Don’t gamble. We all know that the house always wins. You may go “home” once in a while with winning more than you paid in, but you won’t be able to make that the case always. The house always wins.

While technically it is not illegal to leave to snow on your windshield or top of the car, you can STILL get a ticket – so even if you want to ignore the safety benefits, or be a productive member of society and the community, your wallet will take a hit. State and local police can prohibit you from using the roads if snowor ice, could potentially fall from your car and endanger individuals/property. It is within their authority to issue tickets and/or fines.

TIPS TO PREVENT AN ACCIDENT OR TICKET

Remove the snow from your windshields:
Sounds simple, right? Apparently it’s not.

Many think that that means just quickly scrape whatever snow is obscuring the driver’s view – leaving snow on the passenger side and/or back windshield. Don’t be lazy – a state trooper or local police officer will ticket you and hopefully before you get in an accident or cause one. You need to be able to see all around your vehicle. Why would you do something that would make it so you CAN’T see multi-ton death machines coming at you? Don’t you want to see what others are doing, especially if they are sliding towards you, not paying attention.

People will often say, they don’t have time. In an era when people send 50 texts or more a day – none of which are more important that your safety or life – I find it hard to believe you don’t have enough time. You do. And guess what? You’ll have plenty of time when you are on the side of the road waiting for an officer to write your ticket or for the tow truck to take your bashed car to a repair shop.

Impeded operation from snow on the windows is a $40 fine.

Remove the snow from the TOP of your car:
Another common foul. Not removing the snow on top of the car means that time goes on, the snow starts packing together and creates little blocks, sheets or chunks. All of the snow can slough off at once once you are on the road and the wind drag increases – it can cover the windshield of the car behind you. It has happened to me a number of times and the heavy, compact snow will make it difficult for you wipers to remove in a timely fashion. Very dangerous.

An Unsecured Load from having snow and/or ice on the roof will set you back $200. Even worse, if that sheet of snow from the roof (or even the windshields) causes a crash, you can face additional civil or criminal liability and charged with Negligent Operation.

Clear the license plates:
While this one isn’t dangerous, it’s a red flag for any police officer. It looks pretty suspicious – one has to wonder why something that literally will take 2 seconds, wasn’t done. Knowing many police officers, I can’t tell you how many times they have said they have pulled over a car for the most minor of things – sometimes not even to the intent to ticket or arrest someone – and it turns into an arrest once the plate and license is run through the system.

If you have warrants, your registration or inspection sticker has expired, you have something illegal on you or in your car, or you have other violations that turn up only because you were pulled over… you can only blame yourself for the ignorant act of not clearing your windshields and license plate. You basically asked to get pulled over and put a flashing neon sign on your car syaing “LOOK AT ME OFFICER!!!”

Clear the headlights and wipers:
When it snows, visibility is reduced. Having your lights on and visible helps others see you. We’re in this together, so helping others, helps you. In Massachusetts you can get a ticket for using your wipers and not having your lights on anyway.

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The Massachusetts DOT RMV states “Massachusetts drivers should remove ice and snow from your vehicle before driving. Clear all windows, windshield, wipers, headlights, and brake lights. Clear the roof so ice and snow does not blow into vehicles behind you.

It’s the law, it’s safe practice, it’s the responsible, ethical adult thing to do.

About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

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