Is It Illegal to Drive with Snow on Your Car Roof in Michigan?
It's frightening to type these words, let alone thing them: Winter Is Coming! No, I'm not referring to some special Game of Thrones re-hash where that final season is rumored to be scrapped and remade--that'll never happen. Actual winter is coming to Michigan very soon.
Somehow, the first few snowstorms surprise people all over Flint & Mid-Michigan. They forget how to prepare to drive in snow and how to NOT freak out driving in snow. To help prepare for my first Michigan Winter in a few years, I decided to review laws and share with the class.
Is it Illegal to Drive with Snow on Your Car Roof in Michigan? Turns out there are a few laws about snow, your vehicle and responsibilities you should be aware of in the Mitten (from the Michigan Legislature Website.) I'll paraphrase the legal speak.
1. You must maintain an "unobstructed" line of site to enter and exit any roadway. The law refers to this as "safety vision."
2. You can't decide to clean off your car or leave a bunch of snow on it only to fall off onto the roadway or shoulder which causes an obstructed view for you or anyone else unless it's an off-road vehicle situation.
3. The Roof Snow Question: In short, yes, it IS against the law to leave a massive pile of snow on top of your car. Then, drive 60+ miles per hour down I-69 between Davison and I-75 in Flint while causing white-out conditions for everyone around you. Now, clearly, I'm injecting a little extra emphasis here. You, like me, might have a friend or two that can't seem to find time to clear off the roof or throw out the "it's so cold I didn't bother" excuse. It's not safe. Period.
3a. You might wonder, does this mean if the car roof is cleared of snow, is it okay to carve out a small hole in 10 inches of snow on my windshield and hope the rest blows away? Answer: No. That's also against the law. See #1, above!
4. What is the penalty or fine or violating these guidelines... usually not more than $100. That said, I'm all for increasing those fines to $250 and proving to the court or officer that you actually own a snow removal device that's more than your current debit card!
See more from around Michigan here: