As experienced Baltimore car accident injury lawyers will attest — winter driving in Maryland can be mighty challenging. This is true for any Baltimore County resident who commutes to work on Maryland highways and roads, maybe over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge or into Baltimore City on a daily basis. Snow and ice make the experience that much more interesting.
Winter weather is often cited as a contributing factor in serious Baltimore County car accidents. Sometimes, it’s a challenge just to get out of the driveway.
Which explains why, after Mother Nature dumps a snowy load on Maryland, we see the inevitable “moving igloos” chugging down our streets and cruising down our highways. By that we mean cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs driven by people who didn’t clean the snow and ice off their vehicles. You know the ones…where the driver is peering out a tiny hole in an icy windshield that hasn’t been fully defrosted. If you’ve been behind one of these mobile snow cones when the 10-inch cap of snow or 3-inch sheet of ice on the car roof lets go–you know what a driving hazard this problem can be.
In the past, our neighboring lawmakers in Washington, DC have put emergency laws in place requiring drivers to fully clean the snow and ice from their cars following a snow storm. Some Snow Belt states such as Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire–and even to the south in Georgia–allow police officers to issue moving violation citations to drivers whose snow-covered cars present a public safety hazard.
The problem of not removing snow from motor vehicles extends to large commercial tractor trailer rigs, as well. The American Transportation Research Institute did a study on snow accumulation on large commercial trucks and avoiding traffic accidents caused by snow and ice flying off trucks and onto the highway and other vehicles. The ATRI describes the challenges of removing snow from the lofty top of a tractor trailer truck (see link below).
Winter is not done with Baltimore County by a long shot–where county officials are challenged to keep some 2,600 miles of roads and highways clear. Given the “snowpocalypse” that Maryland experienced in 2010, we can only brace for what the next couple months may have in store for us. In the mean time, we should all remember to take the time to adequately scrape the snow and ice off our cars after a snow storm–for our own winter driving safety and that of our fellow Md. motorists.
Baltimore County, Maryland Storm Center
Snow and Ice Accumulation on Vehicles (PDF report summary)
American Transportation Research Institute
Law’s Message to Motorists: Lose the Snow
The Washington Post