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Can drivers be ticketed for not clearing snow off vehicles?

With winter in full swing, many drivers in New York are facing the daily task of removing snow and ice from their cars before hitting the road. While there is no specific law in the state that requires drivers to clear their vehicles of snow and ice, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) warns that it can lead to unsafe driving conditions and possible legal consequences.

According to the DMV, there is no established fine for uncleared snow or ice on a vehicle. However, under reckless driving law 1212, drivers could face charges if snow or ice falls off their vehicle and interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers other drivers.


The law states that “Reckless driving shall mean driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited. Every person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

While there is no specific law that requires drivers to remove snow and ice from their cars, the DMV advises that doing so is the safest option for drivers and others on the road. By taking a few extra minutes to clear off their cars, drivers can avoid potential accidents and legal consequences.

In addition to the potential legal consequences, snow and ice on a car can also interfere with visibility, leading to unsafe driving conditions. The DMV recommends that drivers remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before hitting the road, including from the hood, roof, trunk, and all windows.

As winter continues, drivers in New York should take extra precautions to ensure that they are driving safely and following all traffic laws.