The Dangers of Not Removing Snow From Your Car Windows

The Dangers of Not Removing Snow From Your Car Windows

by / Friday, 14 December 2018 / Published in Michigan Law, Motor Vehicle Accidents
White snow covering black car

When you’re running late, one of the last things you want to see is that your car is covered with snow. Having to take the time to clear your car of snow and ice before heading anywhere is definitely one of the most annoying parts of Michigan winters, especially if you don’t have covered parking at home or at work. But no matter how big of a hurry you’re in, or if you’re only driving a short distance, it’s always important to take the time to clear the snow from your car before you start driving. We know — clearing off your car isn’t fun. But it is an important way to help protect yourself and other drivers on the road.

We’ve all seen those drivers out there on the road with just a small amount of space cleared to see out of windows, but they are most likely in violation of Michigan law. Under MCL 257.709(1)(c) of the Michigan Vehicle Code, motorists are not allowed to drive with “An object that obstructs the driver of the vehicle, except as authorized by law.” For rear windows, those are covered by MCL 257.709(2), which states, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if driver visibility through the rear window is obstructed, unless the vehicle is equipped with two rear view mirrors, one on each side, adjusted so that the operator has a clear view of the highway behind the vehicle.” Having extremely obstructed car windows makes it harder for the driver to see where they’re going and makes it more difficult for the driver to be aware of what’s happening on the road around them, raising the risk of a car accidents.

The lights on a car also play a vital role in helping people stay safe on the road, so don’t forget to clear those off as well. Headlights help you see better when driving in dark conditions and make you more visible to other people, while brake lights and turn signals help make other drivers aware of your intentions. Although the Michigan Vehicle Code doesn’t specifically state that drivers need to remove snow from their headlights, MCL.257.699 requires to meet certain brightness levels and snow might bring your headlights below those levels. MCL 257.686(1) covers visibility requirements for tail lights while MCL 257.697 covers the requirements for brake lights.

What about the cars you see driving around with clear windows, but with a bunch of snow left on the roof of the car? Is that illegal? A very light dusting of snow on the roof of your car likely isn’t going to pose any dangers to other drivers and you likely won’t get ticketed for it, but having thicker amounts of snow on your roof (or any other part of your car for that matter) could be extremely dangerous. If a large chunk of snow flies off of a car, it could block the vision of other drivers or cause them to lose control of their cars. It’s also illegal under section 257.677a of the Michigan Vehicle Code.

Nobody wants to be out in the cold, but taking the time to clear off the snow off your car will go a long way in helping you reach your destination safely. But if you do everything you’re supposed to and still end up in a car accident, get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Goodwin & Scieszka are very experienced in handling Michigan car accident cases and can help you understand how Michigan no-fault laws apply in your case. Contact us today to get started.