We’ve all been there. You’re driving your car after yet another snowstorm. Traffic begins to move, and both the cars in front of you as well as yours, pick up speed. And then suddenly, from the vehicle in front of you, a totally unexpected block of snow or an “ice missile” smashes into your car windshield.
Like most motor vehicle accidents, it happens in the blink of an eye – you barely have time to react. You may not have even seen where the snow or ice came from. 9 times out of ten, it was from a vehicle in front of yours – and not necessarily the one immediately in front of yours: Depending on the speed of the vehicles in motion and the wind speed, that flying chunk of snow or ice may have come from two or even three vehicles ahead of yours. Most times, the snow dislodges from the roof, the hood or trunk lid of a vehicle. Why? Because the driver of that vehicle in front of you didn’t remove the snow from the hood, the roof or the trunk lid of his vehicle. It doesn’t take an engineer to figure out what happens when a large amount of snow or ice is left sitting on a vehicle that’s heated inside and is moving at any speed faster than 10 MPH: Driven by the wind speed produced by the car’s movement, that snow and ice will come off the vehicle – either in a blinding cloud of snow, or a huge piece of snow and ice,crashing into someone else’s windshield.
The result? The startled driver slams on the brakes, swerves into another lane, loses control of the vehicle and either crashes into another vehicle or something like a tree, pole, or worse. These are the kinds of circumstances that can cause a fatal Massachusetts car accident. As a Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer, I’ve seen too many of these otherwise preventable accidents. Many drivers don’t realize that when they don’t remove snow from their car roofs, they’re creating extremely serious safety hazards on Massachusetts roads.
If an accident occurs because you did not clear the snow or ice from your vehicle, you can, be cited for either of two Massachusetts motor vehicle offenses: One is legally called “Driving with an Unsecured Load,” which carries a fine of up to $200.00. This other is called “Driving To Endanger”; This is a more serious, criminal offense (as opposed to receiving a civil fine.) Either way, it’s going to cost you. Connecticut passed an “ice missile law” last year, and police in that state enforce it vigorously. The Boston Globe previously ran an editorial exactly a year ago in February 2014, urging the Massachusetts Legislature to pass an equally specific law; click here to see that clip.
Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But if your vehicle is struck by snow or ice because another driver didn’t remove snow or ice from his or her vehicle, and you are injured in a resulting Massachusetts motor vehicle accident, you’re going to need an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your injuries, based on the damages involved.
As a Dedham, Massachusetts car accident lawyer, I hope this post reminds all Massachusetts drivers to take the time to clear snow & ice off their vehicles, before they hit the road. We all have enough to worry about when driving in this awful winter weather, without having the unnecessary anxiety of never knowing if a flying avalanche will come crashing down and cause another Massachusetts car accident.
Use your head. And your hands, to clear that snow & ice off your car.