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Motorists should clear vehicles of snow, ice before traveling

Published January 08. 2010 05:00PM

With more snow forecast for many parts of Pennsylvania, PennDOT today reminded motorists that they are required by law to clear their vehicles' windows of ice and snow before driving.

"Clearing your vehicle of ice and snow before you get on the road isn't just common sense, it's the law," said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Scott Christie, P.E. "Driving without full visibility is extremely dangerous, and ice or snow that falls from your vehicle can pose a serious threat to others on the road."

Under law, if snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of the source vehicle is subject to a fine of $200 to $1,000 for each offense.

Police may cite motorists for not clearing their vehicles' windows, and the citation carries a fine of $25 plus associated costs.

Additionally, state law requires that headlights be turned on whenever windshield wipers are on. When driving in times of limited visibility, motorists should keep their lights on the low beams, especially during heavy snowfall.

"We want every motorist to get home safely," Christie said. "If motorists absolutely must travel when the weather is bad, we ask that they keep these laws in mind and drive according to conditions."

Motorists should remember that interstates and other high-volume expressways are treated first during winter storms. Secondary state routes are a lower priority and during severe winter storms, deeper accumulations will occur on these roadways.

Because weather and road conditions can worsen abruptly during the winter, motorists should always check the forecast before traveling. Road conditions for interstates and some limited-access highways are available by calling 511 from home or while stopped in a safe location, or by visiting

Statewide, PennDOT is responsible for clearing 96,000 snow lane miles - enough to circle the globe nearly four times.

For more winter driving tips and information on how PennDOT treats winter storms, visit

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