Is It Lawful to Clear Snow from a Car?

August 14, 2022 - 7:55 am - 3 min read


Winter is a challenging season for drivers, particularly in areas where snowfall is an annual occurrence. When it comes to driving in the snow, there are a few important laws and regulations to keep in mind, including the requirement to clear snow from your car. Failure to do so can result in fines and even accidents on the road. In this article, we will discuss the laws surrounding the clearing of snow from a car and the consequences of not following them.

The Legal Obligation to Clear Snow from a Vehicle

The laws regarding clearing vehicles of snow differ depending on where you live. Some jurisdictions mandate that drivers clear all snow or ice from their cars before driving, while others leave it up to the driver’s discretion. In the United States, for example, there is no federal law mandating that drivers clear snow from vehicles. However, in some states, like New Jersey, it is a legal requirement.

New Jersey’s law requires drivers to clear snow off their car before driving. In the event that snow or ice falls from a vehicle and causes a crash or injury, the driver can be held accountable for causing the accident or injury. Similarly, states like Maryland and Connecticut have similar regulations requiring drivers to clear snow from their entire vehicle, including the roof.

In Canada, the laws regarding snow removal vary depending on the province or territory. Quebec, for instance, requires drivers to remove all snow and ice from their cars before driving. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and demerit points. Meanwhile, Ontario has imposed stricter laws, where drivers can be charged with a fine of up to $1,000 for not making an effort to clear snow and ice.

The Consequences of Not Clearing Snow from Your Car

The consequences of not clearing a vehicle of all snow and ice can result in severe penalties, depending on where you live. Fines the range of $25 to $1,000, license suspensions, and even jail time are possible outcomes for those who fail to comply with snow laws.

Driving with snow on a car can also be dangerous for all parties on the road. In some cases, snow on a car roof can suddenly slide forward and block the view of the driver. It can also snow chunks or icicles can fly off from the top of the car, causing severe damage to the car behind it and putting the driver at risk of causing accidents. Thus it is important to remove snow from your car.

How to Properly Clear Snow from Your Car

Clearing snow from a car can be a time-consuming process. It is important to make sure that all snow is removed from the car, including the roof, hood, trunk, lights, mirrors, windows, and license plates.

When clearing snow from your car, it is critical to take safety precautions. Wear gloves to protect yourself from frostbite and avoid using boiling water to melt snow and ice, as this can crack your windows. Instead, use window scrapers, ice pickers, and brushers to remove the snow and ice safely.


It is crucial to remember that clearing snow from your car is a legal obligation that should not be taken lightly. The safety of all parties on the road relies on the conscientiousness of drivers to properly clear their vehicles of snow and ice. Make sure you know the laws in your area and take the necessary precautions to ensure safe driving in the winter.


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