Motorists Reminded To Clean Vehicles Before Driving

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TRENTON – Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky today reminded motorists to always remove accumulated ice and snow from their vehicles before traveling on New Jersey’s roadways.

“We’re only one month into winter, and the state has already experienced several major snow storms. With almost two more months of winter driving still ahead of us, we’re reminding motorists of the life-saving importance of clearing their vehicles before driving,” Poedubicky said. “Ice and snow flying off of a vehicle’s roof or hood can create a potentially deadly situation on the roads. It only takes a few moments to clean off a vehicle, and it’s time well spent that could ultimately prevent a tragedy.”

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Motorists who fail to clear their vehicles of ice and snow before driving can be cited and fined under an amended law, which became effective October 20, 2010. Prior to this change, a motorist could only receive a citation if failure to remove ice and snow from a vehicle resulted in injury to others or property damage.

Fines for violating the new law range from $25 to $75. No motor vehicle points will be assessed for this offense. If failure to remove ice and snow results in injury or property damage, motorists face fines ranging from $200 to $1000, while commercial motor vehicle drivers face fines ranging from $500 to $1,500, for each offense.

In anticipation of inclement weather, motorists are encouraged to:

  • Tune up and winterize their vehicles, as well as check the radiator, battery, antifreeze, and all other fluid levels.
  • Check tire treads and replace them if they’re unsafe.
  • Check and replace windshield wiper blades if the rubber is cracked and/or brittle, and be sure to check and refill the washer fluid reservoir.
  • Maintain at least a half a tank of gas during the winter to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
  • Wear clothing and shoes that will keep you warm if your vehicle breaks down.

Motorists should also keep a winter driving “safety kit” in their vehicles that is easily accessible in the event of an emergency. The kit should include: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; warm blanket; sand, salt or cat litter (for traction in ice and snow); de-icer; safety flares/warning devices; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield washer fluid; cell phone with a charged spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e. granola or protein bars); and, paper towels or a cloth.

For further information on winter driving, as well as a variety of traffic safety issues, please visit the Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s web site, at www.njsaferoads.com.


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