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The Importance of Visibility in Winter Weather

visibility-winter-weather

In Indiana, the weather is anything but predictable. It can easily be 50 degrees and rainy one night and 12 degrees and icy the next morning.

It’s often difficult to protect your car from the elements in Indiana. Even if you have a garage, you may have to park outside for work, while grocery shopping, or at a friend’s house. Out in the open, there’s little to prevent a nice layer of frost from developing on your windshield.

However, it’s incredibly important to maintain clear visibility during the winter months. If you can’t park in a garage, it’s worth it to wake up a little earlier and scrape the ice off of your windshield before heading into work.

Can I Just Scrape the Driver’s Side of My Windshield?

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This time of year, you may see people driving down the road with a frosted windshield and one square scraped off right in the driver’s line of sight. Can you avoid the cold and simply scrape the bare minimum of ice before hitting the road?

Not quite. Indiana Code states:

“A person may not drive a motor vehicle with a sign, poster, sunscreening material, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows of the vehicle that obstructs the driver’s clear view of the highway or an intersecting highway.  However, signs, posters, or other nontransparent material not larger than four (4) inches square may be placed upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows in the lower corner farthest removed from the driver’s position.”

Although not specifically stated, snow and ice would typically fall under the category of “other nontransparent material upon the front windshield.” A police officer is within their rights to pull you over if your windshield, mirrors, and/or headlights are obstructed by snow or ice.

Some states impose fines if you do not remove snow and ice from your vehicle before taking to the road. Such states include:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin

Although there are no specific fines in Indiana, you will typically not be allowed to drive on the Indiana Toll Road unless you remove the snow and ice from your vehicle thoroughly.

Making Sure Your Vehicle Is Ready for Winter

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Let’s say you don’t have a garage, so you park your car outside. On a typical winter morning, there are a few things you should do to make sure your vehicle is ready to hit the road.

First, get up earlier than usual. It’s going to take some extra time to get your vehicle ready in the winter, so budget that time accordingly so you aren’t tempted to cut corners and risk your safety and the safety of others.

Next, resist the urge to go outside, start your car, and go back in. Starting your car and leaving it unattended is the perfect invitation for someone to come and steal your car.

Instead, go outside, start your car, and then begin scraping the snow and ice off of your vehicle. That way, you save some time by warming your car up and scraping your car simultaneously. It also provides you a warm place to rest while you’re scraping if it’s too cold outside and you need to take breaks.

Make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothes. You’re going to have to use a scraper, most likely, so make sure you have warm gloves that don’t inhibit your ability to grip. Layer up with hats, scarves, and coats so you can spend more time scraping and less time taking breaks in your warm car.

Scrape ice off of your entire windshield. Be sure not to neglect your passenger windows, your rearview mirrors, or your back windshield, either. You don’t want to create blind spots for yourself when you’re driving on potentially slippery roads.

Be sure to scrape off your headlights and taillights as well. It’s important not only for you to be able to see, but for you to be seen as well.

Help from an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer

If you follow these steps, you’ll make sure you maintain your visibility throughout the rest of this icy Indiana winter. But others on the road may not be so responsible. If you’ve been injured in an accident by a driver whose car was still covered in ice and snow, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.