Banning ‘snow bombs’

An idea worth considering in Minnesota.

In Boston, the nation’s snow capital these days, a lawmaker is tired of driving behind people who haven’t cleared their cars of snow, and getting snow-bombed.

“We actually had in committee hearings in the last legislative session people who came in and testified who were physically injured in accidents where big chunks of ice came off from commercial vehicles, came through the windshield and seriously injured people, including in one case shearing somebody’s ear right off,” Rep. Cleon Turner told WBZ Radio.

Turner has filed a bill making it a crime to drive without clearing all the snow off a vehicle. Violations would cost $500.

There’s good reason for this, of course, and the early line on Twitter is that this is a good idea for Minnesota. But “snow bombs” have their place. They’re perfect, for example, for people who have run out of “blue juice.”

  • Tyler

    I’m wholeheartedly for this – especially when people don’t clear off their back window and/or brake & turn lights. It might be convenient to do one pass on the windshield and roar off to work, but it’s a serious safety issue.

  • It’s aggravating, but it’s just part of winter driving. I live next to an industrial park and every semi leaving after a snow storm creates its own blizzard as the snow blows off the top of the trailer.

    How exactly are truckers supposed to clean off the tops of their trailers? Commercial vehicles are easy to spot and there’s no law that says you HAVE to tailgate these guys.

  • Mike

    Doesn’t the littering statute already cover snow and ice on the highway, regardless of method of deposit?

  • Jamie

    You don’t have to be tailgating in order to get snow-bombed, Mark G.

  • Ben Chorn

    After one of the many snow storms we’ve had in Duluth I only cleared off my windows. After driving around town for a little while, the snow in contact with the roof may have started to melt. I came to a stop sign and inches of snow suddenly cascaded onto my windshield while I was trying to slow down. The weight of the snow made wipers useless, so I had to pull over. Could have been bad if instead of stopping i was say, coming down a hill.

    Do I think this needs to be a law though? No. I would much rather see an increased crack-down on busted taillights and one-headlight cars.

  • Jamie

    Does it have to be either one or the other, Ben?

  • Noelle

    It’s another one of those “common sense” laws. I try to brush off as much as I can so I’m not creating my own weather patterns behind my car as I plow down the freeway, and try to avoid others that don’t do the same. I’ve wondered if there’s anything semis can do about it, since they’re the worst – I’ve seen HUGE chunks of snow and ice go flying off the top of a semi driving at highway speeds. Short of a total redesign of the trailers, I kind of doubt there’s anything to be done.

  • G-Man

    If you get hit by a chunk of ice it’s because you are tailgating. Don’t tailgate — next problem please.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe North Dakota already makes this illegal.

  • andy

    I think even more dangerous are the big chunks of built up ice in the wheel wells that fall off. Those things bounce down the road like a football – and sometimes they take a bad hop right into your windshield.

    Didn’t Dave Moore teach us all to kick that stuff off of our cars many years ago?

  • Yes this is against the law under the littering laws but… I think it’s a slap on the wrist. $500-$2500 fines would definitely send a message (but base it on legal income so it hurts the rich as much as it hurts the poor).

  • Noelle

    @G-Man – tailgating really isn’t the issue here; I’ve seen snow flying off cars and trucks that affects cars that are 2-4 car lengths behind them, and it continues to swirl over the highway – which can obscure the lane markers, not to mention flying into other drivers’ windshields and lines of sight. Chunks of snow or ice coming off of semis going over 70mph can carry far enough to easily reach someone traveling behind them at a safe distance.

  • Stacie

    you think 2-4 car lengths isn’t tailgateing?? You should have a 7 second following distance between you and who is in front of you. That’s the problem w/ car drivers. You guys think we can stop on a dime. As for snow removal I would like to see you climb up 13.5 feet up w/ a shovel in the wind and snow and clear off the roof. People complain about it every winter and I have yet to see clearing stations. I’m not getting up there. I want to see your wife do it first.

  • Kevin

    Lets all move to Florida so we do not have to hear all the whining. How the heck are you going to climb on top of a 13 ft high trailer and clean off the snow. Give me a break, its winter for crying out loud.