Winter is here and, although the past winters have been mild in many parts of Maryland, some areas of the state have had to contend with significant ice and snow. One of the things that Marylanders do on a wintry morning before setting off for work is clean their car of the wintry mix. So, are you required to make sure that your car is free of ice and snow before you hit the road?
Surprisingly, the answer is no. There is no law in Maryland requiring that ice and snow be removed from a car before traveling on the state’s highways and roads.
A Maryland lawmaker proposed such a law in 2016. The law would have imposed fines for drivers of non-commercial and commercial vehicles who do not clear the snow from their cars. The proposal didn’t go anywhere.
Several states do have such a legal requirement. Tragically, one state adopted their law after a woman was killed when ice from a tractor trailer smashed her windshield.
The state agency that regulates drivers has weighed in on the topic. In a guide for motorists, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration recommends that those going out in icy or snowy conditions keep their windows and lights clear. It also expressly tells drivers to remove all ice and snow from vehicles before driving.
Even though Maryland law does not require that ice and snow be removed from a car before travelling on the state’s roadways, legal liability can occur if a car is not cleaned of the wintry mix and an accident occurs as a result. If a chunk of ice from your car hits another car and causes injuries or an accident, you can be sued in a personal injury case. If the incident leads to a fatality, you can be sued for wrongful death. The plaintiff will claim negligence. Negligence means that you did not exercise a level of care that a reasonable person would display in the same circumstances. Basically, that means the plaintiff will argue that you had a responsibility to clean off your car and didn’t do it.
If you have been involved in an auto accident, an Ocean City auto accident lawyer can help. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh personal injury and auto accident matters.
Maronick Law LLC is open during the pandemic and continues to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact the law office at 410-881-4022 or via our website for a free consultation.