DOT&PF reminds Alaskans to remove snow off car before driving

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 7:17 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After a couple of good rounds of snowfall this year, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is once again urging folks to take a couple of extra minutes to remove the snow from their cars. In a time where a lot of places are considered unsafe, they don’t want the roads to be one of them.

Safety is the point of the short chore. DOT&PF spokespeople remind that it’s important to be able to see and be seen when driving on Alaskan roads which will be getting darker every day in the coming weeks.

Ensuring the windows, windshield and lights are clear of snow is where a lot of people stop. DOT&PF says that snow on the roof needs to go too. It could easily end up on the driver’s windshield after coming to a stop, and perhaps someone else’s windshield behind the driver.

Shannon McCarthy with DOT&PF said every year she sees posts of shattered windshields and headlights because someone didn’t clear their roof. Even while fewer miles are being traveled on the roads during COVID-19, she said the fatality rate is comparable to the last five years.

Another impact that the pandemic — surprisingly — has on snow removal is people staying home.

“Because people are driving just every couple days as opposed to every day, you know that snowpack can really work up on your car,” McCarthy said.

Making the snow icier, harder and much more dangerous once those folks who’ve been staying home more do get on the road.

It’s not just danger, but hefty fines according to Anchorage Police Department.

Public information officers there said applicable laws to people driving snowy cars are a $50 fine for snow covered headlights or taillights, a $75 fine for an uncleared windshield, $150 fine for driving a car in an unsafe condition and $500 fine and four points on the driver’s license for careless driving.

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