CLEVELAND — Legal analysis: Winter is upon us, and with that comes cold weather and snow and ice, and a few very particular laws you should be aware of.
First up: Do you like to start your car early to warm it up before you hit the road? Maybe melt the ice off of the windshield so you don’t have to stand outside and scrape it clean for quite so long?
Legally speaking, up until three years ago, you were breaking the law by doing that.
For over 13 years Ohio had a law that made it illegal to start your car and leave it unattended.
But with remote start becoming so popular, that wasn’t going to last forever.
That law was relaxed in June of 2017 to make it OK to start your car when you’re not inside of it, as long as it’s parked on residential property, or parked anywhere else, just as long as it’s locked.
But if it’s not locked and parked somewhere public, you better be nearby or you could be fined up to $500 and spend up to 60 days in jail, just for trying to stay warm and save a little time cleaning off your icy windshield.
Here’s another one you may have heard: That it’s illegal to drive with snow on the roof of your car.
That’s not technically true, but you do have to clear the snow off of your front and back windshields and your side windows, for obvious reasons.
So let’s say you don’t clean the snow off the top of your car… you could still get hit with a $150 fine.
That’s because in Ohio, knowingly driving a vehicle that could endanger others is a minor misdemeanor.
And you guessed it! Driving with snow on the roof of your car isn’t exactly safe.
You know what else isn’t safe? Leaving your pets out in the cold. That is illegal.
There isn’t an exact temperature or time limit that is or is not OK, but if you leave your pet outside in weather where it seems like it could get sick or suffer, not only could you lose your pet, but you could get locked up for up to 90 days and have to pay as much as $750.
So don’t do that.
Stephanie Haney is licensed to practice law in both Ohio and California.
The information in this article is provided for general informational purposes only. None of the information in this article is offered, nor should it be construed, as legal advice on any matter.