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

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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