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Not Totally Suspension…WINTER DRIVING SAFETY

March 14, 2017

ice removal I can’t speak for all parts of the country but I can tell you in the northeast we are experiencing a weather roller coaster!  About half way through February it was so warm that I’m sure we broke some records.  Now that it’s March, a time when people are hoping for some true spring weather, the temperatures seem to be headed in the wrong direction!!  The first weekend of March saw the thermometer drop well below normal.  And, though it warmed up a little the following week, right now we are experiencing the Blizzard of 2017.  Let’s face it, March is no stranger to winter weather.

If you’re in an area that gets frozen precipitation, winter can be a tough season and it makes sense for all drivers to be aware of snow removal laws in the states they drive.

Over the past decade or so, several states have enacted “snow removal laws” for the safety of everyone who uses the roads.  Often these laws are introduced by a legislator in response to a constituent who suffered an injury from flying ice chunks.  But the laws make sense for safety.  Now, not all states have a law and the laws vary in the states that do.

In New Jersey, the law calls for motorists to remove snow and ice from vehicles or they can be fined up to $75, even if it does not dislodge from the vehicle.  If snow or ice flies off the vehicle causing injury to a person or causing property damage, the fine can increase to $200 to $1000 per offense.

Other states in our region have their own laws.  In Pennsylvania, for example, drivers must remove snow and ice from vehicles before getting on the roads.  Snow or ice that flies off a car and hits another vehicle or pedestrian can get you a fine up to $1000.

In Connecticut, the law is know as the “Ice Missile Law” and similarly requires motorists to make sure their vehicle is free from snow and ice.  Violators of the law can be fined $75.

Other states that require drivers to clean off their vehicles include Alaska, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Generally, these laws cover commercial and non-commercial vehicles alike.  Which means that trailer drivers are required make sure there is no snow or ice on the roof of the truck cab or on the roof of the trailer.  This could prove dangerous for drivers if they are expected to climb up on the trailer to clean it off, which has been pointed out by various trucking associations.  But there are other options available.

There is a device, used by some trucking companies, that resembles a football goal post with a scraper across the top.  When the driver drives through the “goal posts”, snow/ice is scraped off.  In fact, since states have been enacting snow removal laws, trucking associations have argued that all weigh stations, truck stops and rest areas should have one of these devices.

But until these “goal post” devices are more common place, drivers can use a snow rake that has a telescopic handle to reach to the top of the trailer and cab.  Or they can hire someone else to do the job.  Total Suspension offers snow removal services to its customers.

In this post I’ve given most attention to cleaning off the top of your vehicle but be advised that these laws require motorists to fully clean off their windshield, back window and front and back side windows.

Drivers should also be aware of the laws pertaining to headlights.  All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some law regulating when headlights are to be used; most involve three things: time before and after sunrise/sunset, distance of visibilty, use of wipers (wipers on lights on, as we say in New Jersey) or some combination of these.

The important thing is to famlarize yourself with the laws in the states that you drive.  With minimal effort, winter driving can be safer for motorists and pedestrians alike.

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