Each winter you'll see cars with frosted windows or drivers that have to roll their window down to check cross-traffic. Are these people breaking the law?

Sgt. Troy Chrisitanson of the Minnesota State Patrol was recently asked about this topic. He says the question reminded him of a fatal pedestrian crash that he had been called to. "I was the Crash Reconstructionist at an incident where an elderly woman walking across a busy intersection on her way to church was struck by a driver who was late for work. He didn’t see the woman in the roadway consequently striking and killing her. The driver had not scraped his windshield properly thus had limited visibility."

It is illegal to drive with frosted and or steamy windows.

Minnesota Stature 169.71 subdivision 3 states; “No person shall drive any motor vehicle with the windshield or front side windows covered with steam or frost to such an extent as to prevent proper vision.”

While the statute does not mention rear windows, Christianson highly recommends that all windows be cleared. Too many people remove the snow from the windows but leave it piled high on the engine hood. If all of the snow and ice is not properly removed it can be blown from the vehicle when highway speeds are reached. Snow and ice can also be sucked into the fresh air intake of your vehicle (normally located near the bottom of the front windshield) usually resulting in moisture fog on the inside of your windows and windshield.  To ensure proper visibility, be sure to clear all snow and ice from your vehicle.  Taking the proper steps could help you avoid a crash.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)



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