Beware of ice missiles: how new laws may protect drivers

| Jan 24, 2020 | Car Accidents

Driving in the winter can be terrible. When the weather is especially bad, you might be stuck in traffic for much longer than expected or find yourself in an unfortunate accident.

Most Pennsylvanians already know precautions to take to stay safe. However, slipping on the street or colliding with another car are not the only things you should be wary of this winter.

What are ice missiles?

“Ice missiles,” or chunks of ice or snow that fly off a vehicle and strike another car, are just as dangerous as losing control of your car on an icy road. Ice missiles form due to snow building up on the roof of a car. As the car heats up, the ice or snow slowly loosens up and slides off at an alarming speed as you drive down the highway.

Ice missiles have caused significant damage and injuries to drivers. In Pennsylvania, a man was badly injured last January when one of these ice missiles struck the windshield of the car in which he was a passenger.

How can the law protect me?

New laws are pending to help keep the roads and drivers safe during the winter. Currently, there are only a handful of states where it’s illegal to leave snow on your car or vehicle. Pennsylvania already has a law in place that protects drivers from ice missiles – if an ice missile hits another vehicle and causes severe injury or death, the driver of the car from where the ice originated can be fined anywhere between $200 to $1,000.

However, new laws have been introduced in the state that will make it illegal to have any snow accumulating atop your vehicle at all.

What can I do in the meantime?

It can take months – even years – before a law is passed and put into action. As you wait for these new laws to make their way through the system, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself – and others – while on the road.

  • Clean off as much snow and ice from your car as possible
  • Increase the distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you
  • Keep your speed slow as you drive

Remember these tips and take care of yourself on the roads this winter from the ice on the ground as well as the ice that may fly through the air.