Driving in a winter wonderland


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At this time of year, the roads get precarious! Traction is minimal, its hard to see and drivers are shivering in their vehicles, too worried about the cold to pay attention to the icy windows. Too many people skip the first step of going to work in the winter in Manitoba, fully clearing your vehicle of snow and ice.

This puts you and your loved ones at risk (not to mention everyone else on the road). Not only is it a safety hazard for you and others it is also illegal to leave snow or ice on your vehicle. Section 182 Subsection four of the Highway Traffic Act states that nothing should obstruct a drivers view except for the rear view mirror and sun-visor of the vehicle. If one is found not in compliance, they can be fined $113.10. The foot of snow on the roof of your vehicle also falls under this subsection due to the risk of the snow blowing off of your roof and covering the back window of your vehicle. Depending on the situation, you may also be fined $203.80 for imprudent driving under Section 95 Subsection three of the Highway Traffic Act. Spruce Plains RCMP Sergeant Morehouse said “The driver’s and passenger windows should be cleared of snow and frost as well as the windshield and rear window to allow an unobstructed view for the driver.”

The traffic act also says cargo transported by a vehicle must be contained, covered, immobilized or secured, so it can't be dislodged from the vehicle or shift to the extent it adversely affects the vehicle's stability. Although the traffic act doesn't mention snow specifically, the unsecured load rule applies to anything that is not part of the vehicle that could be dislodged and present a hazard to surrounding motorists. Therefore under the act if snow and ice flies off of the vehicle the driver can be liable. Please give yourself an extra five minutes before you drive to fully remove any snow and ice from your vehicle for the safety of yourself and others.