Clear snow from your car, P.E.I. RCMP urge

Between heavy snowfalls and freezing rain, clearing off your car in the morning can be a hassle — but it's an important task for your safety and the safety of others, Island police say.

Failure to remove snow is dangerous and can lead to fines, police say

Drivers should clear all snow and ice from windows, roofs and license plates, P.E.I. RCMP advise. (CBC)

Between heavy snowfalls and freezing rain, clearing off your car in the morning can be a hassle — but it's an important task for your safety and the safety of others, Island police say.

RCMP are reminding drivers to clear off all windows and roofs as well as license plates before heading out.

"Unfortunately every year when we get a snowfall, there seems to be a number of people that I'll say are negligent or tardy in removing snow from their vehicle," Staff Sgt. Kevin Baillie said.

Visibility concern

Drivers who fail to clear snow from their cars can face a fine of up to $175 on P.E.I. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

The main reason is visibility, in particular for shoulder-checking, he said. P.E.I. law dictates that motorists shouldn't drive when windows are completely or partially covered by ice, snow or other debris. Doing so can lead to a fine of up to $175.

Baillie said RCMP hand out about 10 tickets a year but prefer to issue warnings and ask drivers to clear off their car before continuing if they're pulled over.

Snow flies off

Snow and ice on windows can affect visibility for drivers and is illegal under P.E.I. law. (Simon Charland/CBC)

Baillie said drivers can be charged with having an insecure load if snow or ice comes off their car while driving.

He said snow or ice on the roof of a car is also a hazard because it can slide onto the windshield as the vehicle heats up.

As well as a $175 fine and surcharge, you could be held civilly liable for snow or ice that comes off your vehicle and strikes another vehicle.— Kevin Baillie

"Probably one of the more scary consequences of having snow or ice on your vehicle is if it comes off on the highway at speeds and strikes another vehicle, it could break a windshield or strike a pedestrian," he said.

"As well as a $175 fine and surcharge, you could be held civilly liable for snow or ice that comes off your vehicle and strikes another vehicle."

Snow left on roofs can slide down onto windshields or fly off and hit other vehicles or pedestrians. (@anitabathe/Twitter)

Failing to clear your roof also creates other problems, Baillie noted, such as increasing the car's centre of gravity, which makes it easier to roll over at a curve, and increasing the weight of the car, which uses more gas.

Baillie also said drivers of newer vehicles with LED lights should be aware they don't throw off as much heat as old lights, which means it's easier for snow and ice to build up while driving, particularly longer distances. Drivers should pull off at a service station every so often, he said, to make sure their lights aren't being obstructed.

With files from Malcolm Campbell