Flying Ice: Are Trucks and Cars Responsible for Broken Windshields? | Scott Goodwin Law

Flying Ice: Are Trucks and Cars Responsible for Broken Windshields?

by / Monday, 01 March 2021 / Published in Michigan Law, Motor Vehicle Accidents
Truck and a car driving on a snowy road.

Every winter, there’s one question lots of Michigan drivers have: are we legally required to clear the snow off of our cars? The answer to this is yes, under Section 257.677a of the Michigan Vehicle Code. This part of the Michigan Vehicle Code plainly states that a person shall not remove, or cause to be removed, snow, ice, or slush onto a roadway, the shoulder of a roadway, or into the line of vision of the driver of a motor vehicle. This applies to all vehicles, from standard passenger vehicles to large commercial trucks.

Taking the time to clear the snow off your car isn’t fun, especially when it’s not the light, fluffy kind of snow that is easy enough to get rid of. When the snow is heavy and wet or a layer of ice has formed, clearing off your car can feel like a real chore, but it’s extremely important to make sure your entire car, including the roof, has been cleared off before hitting the road because it could help save a person’s life.

The requirement for drivers to clear their cars off not only prevents snow from blowing into the vision of other drivers on the road or onto the road where drivers can slip on it, it’s also supposed to help prevent heavier pieces of ice from sliding off one vehicle and into the windshield of another vehicle nearby. When pieces of ice fly off of a car, it can not only cause a car accident, it can still cause injuries and extensive amounts of property damage even if the driver is able to avoid crashing into a nearby car or another object.

We’ve all seen people out on the road driving cars that are still covered in snow with just a few spaces cleared off on the windows. It can be tempting to laugh at this, but it really isn’t funny. It’s a dangerous act. If police see cars and trucks driving with ice and/or snow on them, the driver may get ticketed. If a piece of ice flies off one vehicle and into another, the driver of the ice-covered vehicle could be held liable for the damages.

Even though laws about clearing off vehicles applies to commercial trucks, keep in mind that it can be extremely difficult for the roofs of trucks to be cleared off. If you’re driving behind a commercial truck and there’s a possibility that it could have ice on the top, it’s best to keep your distance just in case. A good rule of thumb to protect yourself is to increase your following distance by one second per 10 MPH being traveled. So, for example, if you’re following a truck going 50 MPH, add an extra 5 seconds of following distance.

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been in a car accident involving ice hitting your car, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have decades of experience handling a wide range of Michigan car accident cases and helping injured victims get the results they need. Contact us today for help with your case.

Image: iStock / RomanBabakin