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Snow-Covered Cars are Dangerous and Can Lead to Fines in West Virginia

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Under West Virginia (WV) law, windshields and the side and rear windows of a car must be clear of obstructions. Snow qualifies as an obstruction. If you decide to hit the road with a snow-covered car, you could face a fine of $100 with repeat offenders facing fines up to $500, according to wsaz.com. 

Some people might be thinking, "Well, according to that law, I only have to clean off the windows and windshield. Everything else is fair game to leave snow on top of." This is technically accurate. You cannot be cited for having snow on the roof of your car. However, if that snow falls off the roof of your car and winds up creating problems on the road (like a car wreck), you can be cited by the police.

With the massive winter snow storms West Virginia has struggled with this year, I understand the exhaustion some residents have to repeatedly clearing the snow off the car, but it's extremely important. If the potential legal citations dont convince you, consider the safety risks. Having something on your vehicle which obstructs or limits your range of vision is extremely unsafe. This holds true with snow on top of your car since, as mentioned above, snow usually doesn't stay in one place. It is likely to fall off the car, especially if you decide to travel on the highway. Furthermore, if you have to brake suddenly, the snow could actually fall forward on top of your windshield preventing you from seeing the road.

You might be thinking, "Okay, so some snow has fallen onto my windshield. Ill just use my wiper blades to take it off." Well, this does not work all the time. In fact, given the frigid temperatures, windshield wipers have been known to freeze on the vehicle and when you try to use them, they rip off and become useless. This creates a very dangerous situation where your vision could be obstructed and are complete unaware when you hit a patch of black ice. Trying the handle your vehicle after youve encountered black ice is tough even with all windows and windshields free from snow since its virtually transparent, but the risks increase dramatically when your windows are covered in snow.

Again, I know its a hassle to get the snow off your car, but remember you have a choice: (1) you choose to drive a snow-free car and improve your chances of avoiding a major car crash and/or ticket (2) you choose to drive a snow-covered car and potentially suffer a serious injury like a broken neck or traumatic brain injury from an accident and potentially be forced to pay a citation. Id suggest option 1.


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