Throughout many parts of the country winter means one thing, snow. For many that grow up in climates that experience the white stuff of winter, snow can conjure nostalgic images of snowmen, sledding, snow forts and days off of school. As we age, however, snow means shoveling – shoveling driveways, scraping ice covered windows and brushing snow off of cars.
Many people don’t consider brushing snow off our cars as the worst part of a snowstorm. In fact, it might rank well below slippery and snow covered streets, longer commutes and the ever-present snow plows. However, many states, including New Jersey, see cars that are not brushed clean of snow as safety hazards that can lead to motor vehicle accidents.
Taking effect in October 2010, New Jersey drivers are now required to clear snow from the surfaces of their cars – windows, hood, roof and trunk – before driving. Drivers who fail to properly and fully remove snow from their cars’ surfaces will be subject to fines ranging from $25 to $75.
Safety is the Issue
Not clearing snow from a vehicle is a safety hazard for all on the road, including drivers. Not properly clearing windows limits drivers’ vision, uncleared snow and ice may become a projectile capable of damaging other cars or injuring pedestrians, and uncleared snow can potentially create a whiteout for drivers immediately behind.
The dangerous situations created by snowy vehicles can be endless. Beyond the minimal fine imposed by the authorities, if drivers or pedestrians are injured by others who don’t take an extra minute or two to clean their vehicles of snow, those drivers can be held accountable for the injuries and damage they create and cause. For questions concerning liability for injuries and damage incurred this winter, speak with an experienced attorney.
The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety reminds drivers: “Ice and snow, remove it before you go.” It is not just for the fear of the fine that drivers should heed this advice – it is for the safety of all on the road.