Don Burlingame was driving on Route 110 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when a block of ice came flying off the roof of the pickup truck in front of him. It was just a matter of seconds and he had no time to get out of the way. The four-foot-by-four-foot block of ice slammed into the windshield of his Toyota, shattering it.
“It looked like an iceberg coming at me,” Burlingame said.
Dan Tevepaugh was driving on the Everett turnpike in Merrimack, New Hampshire, on his way home from work. Suddenly a sheet of ice flew off the truck in front of him that was traveling at more than 50 miles per hour. It struck his windshield, shattering it.
“It hit my hand, and then the big sheet of ice came off and hit my shoulder, hit my head and went right through on my lap, right to the side of my car,” he told reporters in New Hampshire.
They were lucky.
Bob Brobst, a teacher and coach from East Troy, Wisconsin, was not. He was driving through Rochester, Minnesota, the day after Christmas when a four-foot chunk of snow or ice flew off the top of a trailer that was traveling in the opposite direction on the two-lane highway. It hit his windshield, activated his airbags and sent his car into an electrical pole on the opposite side of the road. He never regained consciousness and died from his injuries two weeks later. The driver of the white trailer never even stopped.
A New Hampshire state law requires drivers to clean off snow and ice from the roofs of their vehicles before they hit the roads. A Minnesota law prohibits anyone from throwing, depositing, placing or dumping a list of items onto public streets or highways that includes snow and ice. In Massachusetts, drivers can be fined up to $100 for failing to clear excess ice and snow off their vehicles.
Certainly countless drivers have been subject to snow blowing off from the vehicles traveling in front of them, making visibility poor. It obviously can be very dangerous. Police warn drivers to warm up their cars and clear off all snow and ice before beginning your journey.
And truckers, in particular, should pay particular attention to this danger.