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What is the Law for Cleaning Snow Off Your Car?

Driving Tips
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

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As if winter weather and winter driving conditions aren’t bad enough, you also face the prospect of having to remove the snow and ice from your car on cold dark mornings. It’s enough to make driving with snow on your vehicle seem like a good idea, especially when you’re late!   

Except it isn’t a good idea to drive your car with any amount of snow and/or ice on it for many reasons.

  1. Visibility – First, all your vehicle’s windows, front, back and sides, must be clean so you can see the roadway all around you while driving. This includes using an ice scraper to get rid of hard to remove ice, and making sure your windshield wipers are able to keep your windshield clean as you drive.  
  2. Not Obstructing Other Drivers’ View – Even if you clear your windows, if you leave snow elsewhere on your car, it can blow off as you drive and create near-whiteout conditions for drivers behind you. 
  3. Lights –  Your vehicle’s front and backlights help you see the road and helps others see you. They must be kept clear of snow and ice or you increase the chances of having a costly collision.

The bottom line is before you drive in winter, you must make sure the entire exterior of your car is clean of any snow or ice.

Cleaning Snow Off Your Car is the Law

Just in case all the reasons listed above aren’t enough reasons to put your car’s snow brush to good use, then maybe the fact that you’re breaking the law if you drive with snow and ice on your car will convince you.

According to Section 181.1 of the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Clearing Vehicles of Snow and Ice), 2014:

181.1  (1)  No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a highway if snow or ice has accumulated on the motor vehicle, or on a vehicle or trailer drawn by the motor vehicle, in a manner that would pose a danger to other motor vehicles on the highway if the snow or ice were to fall or slide off.

And there are even more reasons. Up to 500 of them. According to the Act, the penalties for being found guilty of contravening the Act are as follows:

(2)  Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500.

So, similar to getting a traffic ticket for speeding or having no insurance, you can potentially get a ticket for driving with too much snow or ice on your car. 

You’ll also need an experienced and diversified legal team like X-Copper’s to help you properly defend your rights in court to minimize the effect of the ticket on your driving record and car insurance rates.

To learn more about defending yourself against traffic tickets, check out our article “Fighting a Traffic Ticket Starts When You’re Pulled Over”. 


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