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Winter car accidents: Be sure to clean off the windshield

Patricia M. Jarzobski

Anytime a Colorado resident goes on a trip, be it a short one to the store or one of several hundred miles, there is a potential for an accident. Car accidents most often happen when one vehicle collides with another due to operator error, mechanical malfunction or because of inclement weather. Snow and ice flying off the windshield of someone else's vehicle have actually caused some crashes.

While some cities have their own regulations, there is no statewide law concerning ice missiles, or chunks of ice that fall from any part of a moving vehicle. There are a few states other than Colorado that fine a driver as much as $1,500 when another person is injured from the frozen projectiles. Those that do not might ticket drivers for having an unsecured load.

The other hazard created by not cleaning the snow and ice off a windshield is that the driver's field of vision is obstructed or significantly narrowed. A limited view of the traffic and the road around the vehicle impairs the driver's ability to see, anticipate and react to situations. State law enforcement will issue tickets to drivers whose vision is hindered by snow and ice not removed from their windshields.

A traffic ticket should be the least of a Colorado driver's concerns. A driver who is unable to clearly see -- or a car that is flinging projectiles at traffic behind it -- could cause serious and fatal car accidents, and unsuspecting victims' lives could end or be changed forever. Those victims and/or their families retain the right to file civil actions against the party believed to be responsible, seeking restitution for the damages caused by the responsible party's negligence.

Source: kdvr.com, "Colorado drivers face fines for not removing snow from vehicles", Keagan Harsha, Jan. 4, 2017

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