It’s Not Illegal to Drive With Snow on the Roof of Your Car in Maine
We've all been there, driving down 95 and then WOOSH an 8-inch thick chunk or sheet of snow and ice flies off the Mazda in front of you.
It's scary, especially if conditions are already poor.
I'll admit that I get incredibly judgemental when I see someone who cleaned off their windshield and back window but failed to do anything about the hood or roof. To me, it's on the same level as not returning your grocery cart.
Sure, it's not illegal to leave your cart out all willy nilly, but it certainly makes you look like a lazy, inconsiderate jerk.
Attempt at Legislation
In 2019 a bill was proposed to penalize drivers in Maine if they failed to clear snow and ice off their vehicles.
Specifically, as reported by WGME, police could stop an individual driving more than 40 miles per hour on a public street if they failed to reasonably clear off snow and ice from their entire vehicle. This would then result in a fine.
More recently in February of 2021, Representative Dustin White (R-Mars Hill), attempted to get the ball rolling on mandating that roofs be cleared off according to WGME.
New Hampshire Law
There is a similar law in New Hampshire called Jessica's Law.
This law in the Granite State requires you to clean off your entire vehicle of snow and ice before driving.
You Could Still Get in Trouble in Maine
While snowy roofs aren't explicitly illegal, there are laws on the books that can hold people liable for snow/ice-covered vehicles and for the snow/ice flying off.
Maine Injury Lawyer Blog points to 29-A MRS §2082 and 29-A MRS §2396.
29-A MRS §2082 is specifically about motor vehicle windows and addresses obstructions which, snow and ice could arguably fall under.
Obstructions. A person may not operate a vehicle with a sign, poster, opaque or semitransparent material or substance on the front windshield, side wing or side or rear window that obstructs the operator's clear view of the way or an intersecting way.
29-A MRS §2396 addresses substances on public ways. Snow and ice falling off a vehicle and into the public way could cause an accident and the driver could indeed be held liable.
Snow. A person may not place and allow to remain on a public way snow or slush that has not accumulated there naturally.
At the end of the day, it's a basic human courtesy to clean off your car. We've all been in the position of this Redditor.
Stay safe this winter! It's difficult enough driving in the snowy mess, please don't make it even more difficult on others! While it's not illegal to have a tower of snow off the roof of your car it does make you a danger to those around you on the road.