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Snow and ice from other cars can create unavoidable hazards

The Denver area receives more than 50 inches of snow each year. An overnight snowfall can make for a tricky commute as drivers deal with potentially treacherous roadways. One responsibility of drivers is to remove snow and ice from their vehicles before taking to the streets.

Failure to remove snow and ice can result in hefty fines in many states around the country. Despite the prevalence of snow in Colorado, there are limited criminal penalties for drivers who do not remove it from their vehicles, according to KDVR. Drivers can be ticketed if snow flies off the windshield, but the law does not address the vehicle as a whole.

When snow and ice suddenly fly off another car on the road, the "ice missiles," as they are commonly called, can create an immediate, unavoidable hazard for drivers and can result in damage to your vehicle, including the windshield or wheelbase. Worse yet, drivers can sustain injuries if they lose control of their vehicle when trying to avoid the ice.

Drivers of vehicles that create the hazard can be unaware that snow or ice has fallen off their roof or undercarriage, leaving injured drivers unable to hold someone accountable. Clearing off the windshield and windows is not enough to prevent these hazards. Snow and ice should be removed from the entire vehicle, including the roof and wheel wells.

Drivers who suffer damage to their car or physical injury by ice missiles can find themselves in a situation similar to a hit and run. What can you do if your vehicle is disabled or you are injured but are unable to get another driver's information?

Get as much information as possible

Having complete information can help ensure that police could ticket the driver who hit you. Secondly, it can help you file a claim for insurance or personal injury. If your vehicle is hit by an ice missile on the road, take the following steps to gather information at the scene.

· Pull over to a safe location, if able, and record as much information about the vehicle as possible including the make, model and license plate number.

· Attempt to flag down a witness to attest to the events and vehicle description. Testimony from a third-party can strengthen your case.

· Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the scene at which the incident occurred.

· It may be appropriate to file a police report at the scene if significant damage or injury has occurred. Otherwise, a report should be submitted as soon as possible after the accident.

If law enforcement officials can track down the driver that caused the damage, you may have a claim for personal injury. Although enforcing the removal of ice and snow from vehicles rests in a gray area of the law, a personal injury attorney can help clear a path to recovery after an accident.

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