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If you live in a cold-weather state, you most likely have witnessed a sheet of ice or snow fly off the roof of moving vehicle?  Maybe you had to react quickly to dodge it, or simply pray that it missed you.  What else could you do?

In 2010, Peter Morano wasn’t so lucky.  As he was on his way to meet his wife, an “ice missile” flew off the back of a truck traveling in the opposite direction and smashed the windshield of his vehicle.  Mr. Morano suffered broken bones in his face and had shards of glass in his left eye; the bone section below the eye socket was shattered.  Morano underwent a two-hour surgery to reconstruct his nose. He has lost the sight in his eye.  Some may write off what happened to Morano as “just an accident,” but it was an accident that could have been prevented.

An “ice missile” is chunks of ice and snow flying off vehicles like missiles creating a very dangerous situation for drivers.  The faster the covered vehicle is traveling, the more energy in that chunk of snow or ice torpedoing at you.  Failing to clear your vehicle is not only dangerous for other motorists, but for yourself as well.  Snow and ice left on the roof can come down on your windshield or back window blocking your view.  If you are in heavy traffic at the time, it could result in serious or deadly consequences.

More often than not, drivers that don’t clear their roofs were truckers or owners of larger vehicles particularly vans.  The most obvious reason is because it presumably takes more effort to clear snow from the roofs.  Does this make much sense?  If someone failed to secure a load on a roof/luggage rack and it came loose causing an auto accident, they would be held accountable.  So, why shouldn’t drivers be responsible for clearing snow and ice from their vehicle?

When you fail to remove all snow, ice and frost from your windshield, you put yourself and others at risk.  Is another minute or two to remove the snow worth risking your life or the lives of others?   There are plenty of products on the market to expedient the process including telescoping brushes; a long handled broom will also work.  For truckers, a multi-use snow tool called A Better Snow Rake designed by a Wisconsin trucker, can do the trick. To remove ice, use an ice scraper and turn on the car defrost.

On January 1, 2014, Connecticut joined seven other states in passing an “Ice Missile” law which requires motorists to remove accumulated snow and ice from their vehicles – hood, roof, and trunk – before driving. This includes commercial vehicles such as semi trucks. Drivers failing to do so, can be fined.  Whether you live in one of these eight states or not, please clean the snow and ice off your vehicles before traveling.  Keep a winter “driving kit” in your vehicle that includes an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; warm blanket; sand, salt or cat litter for traction; safety flares/warning devices; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield washer fluid; and cell phone and charger.

Mark Bello has thirty-seven years experience as a trial lawyer and fifteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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