If you think you see a snowbank moving this winter, it could mean one of two things: either the edibles are kicking in or your neighbour is driving what Quebec police are referring to as an “igloomobile.”
A 59-year-old man from La Pêche was stopped by police on Jan. 16 and fined $111 for failing to clear his vehicle of snow before leaving his driveway.
In a photo posted to the MRC des Collines police website, the car’s back window appears to be almost entirely covered in snow, as does the roof and rear bumper, obscuring the car’s license plate.
“Every winter, we unfortunately notice that some people forget that their vehicle must be cleaned of any material that might come loose from it,” MRC des Collines Police wrote in their Facebook post.
“Yes, just like the snow,” the post continues. “Not only is this an obligation under the Highway Safety Code, but failure to do so can be…(drum roll) dangerous not only for yourself, but also for others.”
The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) states on its website that: “A vehicle’s windshield and windows must be cleared of any matter that might reduce visibility for the driver.” Otherwise, SAAQ cautions, an officer can issue a fine between $100 and $200, plus costs.
Police can also require the driver to clear off their vehicle before continuing to drive.
Even if the windshield and windows are clear, police can still issue a ticket if the vehicle is otherwise covered in snow – on the roof, hood or in the bed of a truck, for example. Those fines run between $60 and $100, plus costs.
Most Quebec drivers already know that, unlike in most other provinces, they are required by law to have snow tires installed on their car between Dec. 1 and March 1. But some may not be aware that they can be fined for failing to “adapt their driving to weather and road conditions,” according to SAAQ.
“Under the Highway Safety Code, drivers must slow down when visibility is reduced as a result of darkness, fog, rain or other precipitation or when the roadway is slippery or not completely cleared,” the government agency’s website reads.
The fine for not modifying your driving to meet the conditions is $60, plus costs, and 2 demerit points.
The MRC des Collines Police say in their online post that fines for driving with a snow-covered car (a veh-igloo, if you will) “can easily be avoided by taking a few extra minutes to clear the snow from your vehicle.”
Perhaps anticipating a bit of extra revenue, the police cheerfully conclude their post: “We look forward to the next storm!”