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Warning: Don't drive with snow on your roof

Warning: Don't drive with snow on your roof

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

For the third day in a row, we have blue skies and sunshine. After weeks of intense winter storms, we actually have calm, clear days with the mercury above 50 degrees.

Here in the foothills, birds are singing, squirrels are bounding and wildflowers like fiddleneck and buttercups are just beginning to open and look around.

But up the hill, the ski slopes are full. With a base of 115-inches (13 of which fell within the last week) skiers are sailing down the runs, or enjoying long, cross-country treks.

Skiers from the San Francisco Bay Area drive up every Friday evening after work, and stay as late as they can on Sunday before heading back.

Some even wait until early Monday to drive back. And if it snowed while their van or car was parked at the resort, they’re likely to be carrying a big white load as they barrel along the asphalt.

The traveling snow load poses a serious problem not only for neighboring cars on the highway, but also for the driver of the snow-laden vehicle.

The problem for nearby cars is obvious: the possibility of suddenly having a snow load break loose and hit nearby windshields, temporarily blinding the drivers and causing a loss of control.

The problem for the driver of the snow-carrying car or van is a legal one. It’s against the law (at least in California) to spill snow from a moving vehicle. Such a spill is a misdemeanor.

In fact, there are only two things that can legally spill off a moving vehicle: clear water (as in rain) and feathers.

That’s right, feathers.

If you’re wondering how and when feathers would ever spill from a moving vehicle, I suspect you don’t live in the country.

Out here in the world of two-lane highways with 55mph speed limits, where sheep, cows and horses graze in nearby fields, there are plenty of trucks carrying chickens or turkeys to the butcher shop and shedding a constant stream of white feathers.

So now you know.

Be smart and brush the snow off before you head down the mountain after a day or two of skiing. Everyone will end up happier if you do.


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