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'Tis the season: Practice safe snow removal

Fast facts:
- Piling or depositing snow that obstructs vision is a violation of Michigan's Vehicle Code.
- Piling snow at the ends of driveways along highway shoulders and pushing snow across roads can create hazardous conditions.
- Keeping sidewalks clear is important to help people walk safely and access public transit.

December 19, 2019 -- Snow has really piled up throughout Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is reminding residents living along state highways to be careful and follow the law as they plow or shovel snow.

Two primary concerns are when residents and businesses pile snow at the ends of driveways along the highway shoulder, and when snow is pushed across the road, leaving snow or slush on the road surface.

Michigan Vehicle Code 257.677a prohibits "the obstruction of safety vision by removal or deposit of snow, ice, or slush." This includes the end of driveways, where banked snow can reduce visibility for vehicles trying to enter the roadway.

"Growing piles of snow make it difficult for drivers to make sure it's safe to pull out onto the highway, and tough for drivers to see other vehicles waiting to pull out," said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. "Our crews work to keep the shoulders clear and knock down snowbanks at intersections for motorist safety, and residents and business owners need to do the same at their driveways."

Trails of snow left on the pavement while plowing across the road also can cause problems. The snow can become packed and create ridges on the road, or, as temperatures change, the area can become icy.

"Careless plowing creates an added hazard to unsuspecting motorists and plow drivers," Ajegba said.

It also is important to remember that many local ordinances require residents and businesses to keep sidewalks clear of snow. This is important for pedestrians and those waiting for public transit.

"Winter can be a difficult time to get around for those on foot, so please make the extra effort to clear your sidewalks and help everyone stay mobile and safe," Ajegba said.

Click to view Safe Snow Removal Graphic