Police: Clean cars or face fines

LEWISTON — Police see it all the time: snow covering a good part of the windshield of a vehicle that is being driven.

Snow-covered car
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

A car, covered with snow, makes its way down Lisbon Street in Lewiston on Thursday morning.

The snow on the windshield of a vehicle going down Lisbon Street on Thursday was illegal, police said. The driver could have been pulled over and issued a $135 fine, officer Craig Johnson said.

Maine law says windshields and windows have to be “100 percent clear.” Any snow or ice diminishes visibility and creates a safety risk. Motor vehicles are designed to give drivers a 360-degree view.

“There are two main causes of accidents during and after a storm: road conditions and reduced visibility,” Johnson said. Vehicles that are not cleared of snow are a contributing factor to lack of visibility.

In the case of the vehicle on Lisbon Street on Thursday morning, the driver likely cleaned the windshield but not the roof, Johnson said. As the car warmed, snow slid from the roof onto the windshield. That's why it's important that drivers clean not just the windshield, but the roof, side windows and rear window before driving.

Keeping a car completely clear during a storm can be tough, and police use discretion, Johnson said. But too often, the day after a storm, drivers become “lazy” and don't do a good job of removing snow and ice before driving, he said.

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Scott  Perry's picture

Northwoods & KEWP

Northwoods - No I did not realize there was a law on the books stating that headlights must be on if you can't be seen from 1000 feet away - thanks for the info.

KEWP - Higher taxes and insurance - Well I wonder if Stephen King has trouble paying his own medical bills... Oh How about the former President of the United States George Bush? Do you suppose they can't afford the higher cost of medical attention? As for me, well you have no idea if I can pay higher medical costs or not. Do our children who ride a school bus wear seat belts? There are other methods to accomplish things but everyone turns to the government to pass laws when common sense is not forthcoming. That is NOT what our founding fathers wanted when they drafted our consititution.

Genise Knowlton's picture

"Could have been pulled over and issued a fine..."

so why weren't they? How is it that we practice a law at our convenience?

Scott  Perry's picture

How about the law that requires lights on when wipers in use???

I do NOT disagree with making sure that drivers are clearing their windshields and other windows. I would like to know why the Police do not enforce the "Lights on when wipers are in use" law however. They enforce the seatbelt law - which If I am not wearing my seat belt it does NOT place anyone other than me in increased danger. But they do not ticket people for not using their lights.

Furthermore, even though it is not a law, People should have enough common sense to put their lights on when foggy, raining, snowing etc. On my way to work the other day, during the Nor' Easter (I have a job that cannot shut down because of weather), I pass several oncoming cars in near whiteout conditions with not lights on. Some of these cars were white - in a major snowstorm - with no lights on. That places everyone at risk of accidents. I know you can't legislate common sense, but come on people (those who refuse to put their lights on), you should use that common sense without someone forcing you to.

Roger Castonguay's picture

Well said Scott

I plow for a living and encounter numerous vehicles without any lights on. It's pretty nerve racking when you don't see them till they're within fifty feet of you and traveling at 40 mph.

MICHAEL FOX's picture

How about frost

They should also include frost in their description. Way to many times I have seen vehicles that have frost covered windshield and the driver is looking through a hole they quickly scraped or looking through the steering wheel out the bottom of the windshield.

While cleaning, don't forget the side windows and mirrors so you can see to pull out into traffic safely.

Roger Gagne's picture

Bout time

Its about time.

Dan Moody's picture


Keep up the good job ? That's go for all the city Vehicle's ????? ALSO RIGHT ????/


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