/ Travel & Leisure

Driving with snow on your car – it’s snow joke

Car covered in snow

I don’t usually like to tell other people what they should – or shouldn’t – be doing, but seeing some dangerous behaviour over the past week has compelled me to get typing. Why drive with snow on your car?

Waiting to collect my daughter from school on Friday, I was disturbed to see a procession of cars leaving the school almost completely covered in up to 10cm of snow. Not one had bothered to clear the snow off the side windows of their cars. The best had just stuck the front wipers on and the worst had only cleared off the driver’s side of the front screen.

Not only was this a rubbish example to be setting for the pupils, it was also downright dangerous – they would struggle to see other vehicles and the children walking home near them. The AA this week also criticised drivers who haven’t cleared their cars of snow and ice, or what it calls the ‘igloo mentality’.

Of course, it’s also illegal. The Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 state that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle where the driver’s vision through the windscreen is impaired.

Clearing your car of snow and ice

So why didn’t they at least clear all their car windows so they had all-round visibility? And surely they’d want other road users to see them, so wouldn’t they think to wipe the snow off their cars’ lights and indicators?

To be honest, they really should have gone further, as I learned from a motorbike-riding colleague. He told me he’d almost been knocked off his bike by a roof-load of snow that suddenly flew off a car.

At least some of the drivers I saw had made a small effort to clear their cars’ screens, unlike one motorway driver who’d only scraped a narrow slit in the screen of their Audi A4. I’m not one for reporting other motorists for bad behaviour, but I’d definitely have informed the police about this one.

Do you drive in the snow?

Yes (49%, 230 Votes)

Only if I really need to (44%, 210 Votes)

No (7%, 32 Votes)

Total Voters: 473

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You should knock it off the roof too. A load of snow sliding down over the windscreen blinding you – if only for a few seconds – is madly dangerous.


More importantly, it’s dangerous to others if it slides off the back, especially if they’re on two wheels.

Pete says:
25 January 2013

I agree. In Germany, for instance, it is illegal to drive with any snow on the roof. Obvious! Only some halfwits here would not think of clearing it


I cannot believe that people are stupid enough to drive in cars covered with snow, though I can imagine that shorter people will find it difficult to clear snow off the roof.

In cold weather it is essential to use plenty of additive in windscreen washer bottles. Watch out for hire cars that may be sent out with just water. That usually results in the washers not working but if the water freezes on the screen when you are on a motorway it can be frightening.


If you are shorter than your car then surely you should carry a long handled implement? Good advice on the screenwash wavechange.

Ms Evans is absolutely right that drivers not clearing the car of snow is highly reckless. Astounding when you consider it is an area with a dense number of young pedestrians.

BTW Julie Do you have winter tyres?


“Astounding when you consider it is an area with a dense number of young pedestrians.”
It’s also dangerous when passing cyclists.

“BTW Julie Do you have winter tyres?”
This is a question that’s been going through my head (not Julie specifically, all road users). I have studded winter tyres on my bike and I suspect that I have better stopping ability than most cars on icy roads. That’s of some concern.
Winter tyres aren’t a legal requirement in the UK but should they be?


Sorry to ask, but who’s Julie?


I am guessing that it’s the person who cleared only a small amount of snow from her Audi windscreen, but we do need an answer.