Ask a Trooper: It is illegal to push snow from driveways onto public roads
QUESTION:Winter is here and I’m noticing that some people are pushing the snow from their driveways onto the highways. The piles and ice buildup are unsafe, is this illegal?
ANSWER: According to Minnesota State Statute 160.2715, “it shall be unlawful to obstruct any highway or deposit snow or ice thereon.” This prohibits the plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing of snow on to public roads. This includes the ditch and right of way area along the roads.
Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if the placement of snow creates a hazard, such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump, that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow.
If a person observes something appearing to be a hazard, I would encourage them to report it as quickly as possible to the proper law enforcement agency or highway department. Here are some winter driving tips:
•Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time.
•Increase the safe stopping distance between vehicles.
•Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths behind them.
•Do not use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads.
A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, [email protected]).