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Michigan law does not require clearing snow off roof of vehicle

One law from the Michigan Vehicle Code states a person cannot deposit or cause to be deposited snow, ice or slush in the roadway in a manner that obstructs the vision of a driver of a motor vehicle. Photo courtesy WNEM

By Brianna Owczarzak

Saginaw County, MI (WNEM) -- Clearing the snow off your vehicle is a winter-time chore many residents dread.

In states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut it is against the law to drive without clearing off the snow. In Michigan, that’s not the case.

Richard Alger handles traffic disputes in Saginaw County. He said there is no state law requiring people to clear the snow off the roof of their vehicles.

“You need to have enough of the windshield and the side windows cleared so your vision isn’t obstructed. You would need to clear the headlights so that it can be clearly seen and the tail lights. And also the license plate,” Alger said.

One law from the Michigan Vehicle Code states a person cannot deposit or cause to be deposited snow, ice or slush in the roadway in a manner that obstructs the vision of a driver of a motor vehicle.

“That statute is directed at snow plow operators so that they don’t plow out a parking lot and push that snow out into the roadway. I don’t think it’s going to apply to the motorist who is just casually driving along and snow is blowing off their car,” Alger said.

Even though there's no law requiring you to remove all the snow off the roof of your vehicle, some drivers think there should be.

"I think that's crazy. It should definitely be illegal. It's dangerous," one driver said.

Other drivers don't think it needs to be a law.

"Not necessarily illegal because it got to come off either way," another driver said.

Alger was quick to point out no one likes getting snow and ice thrown at their windshield from another vehicle. He said if more people took the time to clean off their roof, the roads would be a happier place.

“There’s some things that aren’t illegal that are just good practice and that’s probably one of them, if you could reach up there and get that snow off,” Alger said.

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