Every time it snows in Illinois you will see thousands of drivers breaking one very important driving law, and police will ticket you if you get caught.

Winter Driving in Illinois

Illinois has officially seen its first significant snowstorm of 2024, and more snow is on the way later this week. As I drove into work this morning I noticed two major things;

  1. Snow plow drivers did a dang good job clearing the mess from our roads.
  2. A LOT of drivers neglected to make sure their cars were clear of snow.
Powerful Winter Storm Hits Chicago Area
Getty Images

For the record, I'm pretty sure I have been guilty of breaking Illinois' "snow mattress law" a time or two in my driving days, but I blame that on being vertically challenged more than lazy. My point here is, while it may tough and time consuming, clearing your car completely of snow is important for the safety of other drivers.

What Is the 'Snow Mattress Law"?

To put it simply, leaving a thick blanket of snow on the roof of your car, aka, a "snow mattress" can be very dangerous for other drivers when those chunks of snow start to fly off down the road. These flying snow chucks severely impair the visibility of other drivers when they hit their windshield, and it your chunks cause an accident, you WILL be liable.

RELATED : Weekend Snow Storm and Extreme Cold Forecasted for Illinois.

Hand with gloves is removing snow from car

According to one Illinois law firm;

All Illinois drivers have a legal duty to protect others on the roadway. This duty extends to making sure that vehicle roofs are clean in the winter. Drivers who are sloppy about cleaning off all parts of their cars or trucks can face serious consequences...drivers who cause an accident can be sued if they didn’t bother to properly clean off their vehicle in winter weather.

Leaving a few chunks of snow on your car hood or roof probably isn't a huge deal, but just to be safe, here is is what the State of Illinois has to say about winter driving;

Remove all snow and ice from the vehicle, clear all windows, and do not start driving until the windshield is defrosted and clear. Be sure to have non-freezing windshield washer liquid and the headlights and taillights are visible.

FYI, the fine for getting caught with too much snow on your car is at least $100, so taking the extra few minutes to complete clear your car is well worth it!

RELATED: 10 Photos That Prove Illinois Drivers Can't Park

12 Things You SHOULD and SHOULDN'T Do When It's Below Zero in Illinois

10 of the Best Road Trips to Take When You Need to Escape Illinois This Winter

More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5