Ice from passing vehicles smashing windshields and scaring drivers

Drivers like Courtney Lafferty are recounting dangerous run-ins with the falling ice.

Drivers of icy cars can be held responsible in cases of serious injury

This picture was taken minutes after ice from a passing vehicle struck Courtney Lafferty's windshield. (Courtney Lafferty)

It's not uncommon to see snow covered vehicles on the road in the winter months, and having some light snow on your vehicle is not that big a concern.

But some motorists in Sudbury are driving around with large chunks of ice sliding off their cars, and there's been reports of vehicles being damaged from ice falling off other cars and trucks.

Drivers like Courtney Lafferty are recounting dangerous run-ins with the falling ice.  

"A sheet of ice from a truck that was going past me on the highway kind of flew up from the roof and hit the top of my roof and my windshield and it shattered," Lafferty said. "My roof is dented from the impact. And the person didn't stop."

"It was a big slab. And it happened super quickly so I don't know if there was something I could have done to dodge it or anything, but it was scary." Lafferty said.

The driver of the truck did not stop, Lafferty said, but another passing motorist stopped to check on her. He also managed to catch the license plate of the truck.

Lafferty said she didn't feel police were helpful when she called. Because the person on the phone suspected damages were under $2,000, she was told there was nothing police could do.

On the advice of family, she inspected her car again, and found further damages to the car's roof.

"I called the police back and she wasn't much help again that time, because she said that there's not much they can do about it because it's not a collision," Lafferty said.

Lafferty said she then called a tow truck, who said he wouldn't move her vehicle without approval from the police, since damages likely exceeded $2,000.

"We were able to talk to a couple of people [over the phone] but it was kind of confusing, it was a runaround of different people," Lafferty said. "I was able to talk to someone with the police and they told me to file a collision report but I have to go to the collision centre to report it."

Criminal charges in cases of injury

OPP Constable Carmel McDonald said they've had about five calls in the past several days about this, and it's likely there have been more incidents that weren't reported.

But she confirmed that this type of incident only needs to be reported if there's more than $2,000 in damage, and added there is no law that states a driver must clear the roof of their vehicle.

That changes if the falling ice causes damage or injury. In those cases, the driver could be charged.

"A criminal code charge would certainly apply if someone was injured as a result of the ice coming off your vehicle," McDonald said.

"It's every motorist's responsibility to keep our roads safe," McDonald said. "So please ensure that your vehicle is free of ice and snow prior to travelling...otherwise it puts other motorists in danger and causes property damage which a person could be held accountable for."

With files from Jamie-Lee McKenzie