Is Clearing Snow from Car a Law? What You Need to Know

February 10, 2023 - 4:57 am - 3 min read


As winter approaches, most states see an increased amount of snowfall. As a result, clearing snow from cars before heading out becomes a common routine for motorists. Ignoring the snow buildup may result in unwanted consequences, including a potential collision. However, one question that arises frequently is whether or not clearing snow from a car is a law.

Understanding the Law

Individual states have different regulations regarding snow removal from the car. That said, the general rule is that drivers must clear all snow from their car before embarking on a trip. Despite not having a universal federal law in place, some states have specific guidelines on how much snow drivers should clear off their vehicles.

For instance, laws in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Connecticut require that drivers remove snow and ice from all windows before driving. In New Jersey, the law requires drivers to remove all snow from the roof of their vehicle before starting the car. Furthermore, drivers who are caught violating the rule are liable to a ticket of up to $75 for failure to remove snow or ice from their car.

Why Clearing Snow from a Car Matters

Clearing snow from a car’s roof, windows, and exteriors improves visibility and ensures the driver’s safety and that of other road users. Snow on the windshield, for instance, can obstruct the driver’s view and create a potential accident risk, especially when driving at high speeds. Snow on the roof can fly off, creating a risk of injury, while damaging other cars’ windshields on the road.

In addition to causing impaired visibility, snow and ice on a car’s exterior can alter its balance and increase the likelihood of skidding. Therefore, it’s vital to clear snow from cars before driving, even if it doesn’t seem like a huge deal.

Consequences of Failing to Clear Snow off Your Car

Failing to clear snow from your car builds up thick layers of ice and snow on your windshield, windows, and exteriors. The buildup can hamper your vision and consequently lead to accidents. Furthermore, driving with a trail of snow behind your car is a recipe for disaster. It can fly off, obstruct other motorists’ vision, and eventually cause damage.

Also, some states impose fines or penalties for failing to clear snow from your car. In New Jersey, the law deems it an offense to drive with accumulated snow or ice on the car’s roof. Drivers who violate the law face fines ranging between $25 to $75. Michigan and Pennsylvania have the same regulation, and failure to remove snow and ice amounts to a summary offense, with a possibility of a monetary penalty.


Clearing snow from cars is not just an act of diligence but a legal requirement in several states. The accumulation of snow on the windshield, windows, and exteriors can lead to poor visibility, increased chances of skidding, and accidents. Therefore, drivers must understand the laws in their respective states and clear snow and ice from their cars. It’s important to note that failure to comply with the laws may put your life and that of other road users at risk while attracting hefty fines.

Semantic Keywords

snow removal, car safety, driving regulations, legal requirements, winter driving practices.


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