Is it illegal to drive with frost on your windshield in New York?

It is that time of year. I wake up to go to the gym first thing in the morning, and when I go to my car, there is frost everywhere. Today the frost wasn’t too bad and I thought, “I should probably be able to see past it. I don’t need to scrape it off.” Visibility today was good, as I thought, but it got me thinking, could they pull me over for having any amount of frost on my windshield?

Is it illegal to have frost or snow on your car when you drive?

Canva, Jupiter images from Photo Images

Canva, Jupiter images from Photo Images

It depends where you are. Some states can fine you up to $1000 for driving with snow or ice on your car. If he drives with ice around the edges of his windshield, or even a layer of snow on the roof of his car, he could be getting a big ticket.

Typical fines for being pulled over for having an icy car are distracted driving or making the roads dangerous to others. To help defrost your car very quickly, try using a solution of one part water and two parts alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t freeze in typical winter temperatures, so it won’t add more ice to your car and will help break down any ice you have.

So is it illegal to drive with snow or ice on your car? These states say yes:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • new hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin

Can you be pulled over for frost on your windshield in New York?

Apparently, it’s not illegal in New York State. That said, DMV Deputy Commissioner Lisa Koumjian says, “Driving a vehicle covered in snow and ice can be dangerous, and DMV strongly encourages all drivers to clear their vehicles to protect themselves and others.”

Canva, Wooya by Getty Images

Canva, Wooya by Getty Images

If snow or ice blows off your car, it can still cause property damage or potentially a crash. That in turn can get you a reckless driving ticket. The Vehicle and Traffic Law 1212 prohibits reckless driving. This includes any behavior that “unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”

There was a bill that was introduced in the Senate a few years ago that would fine drivers who refuse to clear away all the snow and frost, but it has stalled in the Transportation Committee and hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

Although it may not be illegal in New York, it’s still a better idea for your safety and everyone’s to clean your car.

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