Take it all off

A few years ago I was driving to the college on Interstate 81 one winter morning the day after a big snowstorm. I pulled into the left lane to pass a tractor-trailer and just as I neared the back of the truck, a chunk of ice and snow, about the size of a sheet of plywood, broke free from the top of the truck, hung in mid-air for a moment, seemingly in slow motion, and then crashed into the right side of my windshield, sending cracks in all directions, and shattering my side rearview mirror, which was left dangling by a wire and banging off the side of my car.
By then I was alongside the trailer and, yes, stunned. But I had enough wits about me to know I wanted to get this guy’s license plate number. So I slowed my speed, intending to get back behind him. And when I did, he slowed his speed too, which told me he was fully aware of what had happened, and fully aware of what I was trying to do. The more I slowed, the more he slowed. He made sure there was no way I was going to see that license. Finally, I reached my exit and had no choice but to pull off and let him go.
I wasn’t as mad as I was frustrated and I kept thinking I once had heard there was a law that you had to clear all the snow off your vehicle. ALL the snow. Well, it turns out I was right.
I saw a piece on a local TV news show the other morning referring to Act 81 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, and looked it up and found this:
When snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury [as defined in section 3742 (relating to accidents involving death or personal injury)], the operator of the vehicle from which the snow or ice is dislodged or falls shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for each offense.
True, there was no bodily injury or death in my case, but I believe that was only by the grace of God. I easily could have lost control of my car and still marvel that I didn’t.
What I took away from that incident is that ever since, I always take the time to clear all of the snow from my car and my wife’s, which is more difficult because hers is an SUV with a higher roof. I don’t want inflict on someone else the very thing that happened to me.
You might consider adopting the same policy yourself.
By the way, I think the fines listed in Act 81 are too low given the seriousness of the situation.

Ed Ackerman