It's that time of the year. I wake up to go to the gym first thing in the morning, and as I go out to my car, there is frost all over it. 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." The visibility today was fine, as I thought, but it got me thinking, could I actually get stopped for having any amount of frost on my windshield?

Is It Illegal to Have Frost or Snow on Your Car When Driving?

Canva, Jupiterimages from Photo Images
Canva, Jupiterimages from Photo Images

It depends where you are. Some states can fine you up to $1000 for driving with any snow or ice on your car. If you drive around with ice on the edges of your windshield, or even having a sheet of snow on the roof of your car, you could be wracking up a big fine.

Typical fines for getting pulled over for having an icy car are distracted driving or making the roads dangerous for others. To help defrost your car very quickly, try using a solution of one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol. Alcohol doesn't freeze in typical winter temperatures, so it will not add more ice to your car, and it will help break down the ice that 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 is not illegal in New York State. That being said, DMV Assistant 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 from Getty Images
Canva, wooya from Getty Images

Having snow or ice fly off your car can still cause property damage, or potentially a crash. That in turn can get you a ticket for reckless driving. 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 clean off all the snow and frost, but it has been stalled in the Transportation Committee and has yet to go anywhere.

Though it may not be illegal in New York, it's still a better idea for yours and everyone's safety to clean off your car.

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