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Flying snow, ice creating highway hazards

Union Leader Correspondent

December 15. 2017 12:11AM

State police are warning drivers to clean off their vehicles after several incidents involving flying chunks of snow and ice on state highways in recent days.

State police Lt. John Hennessey of Troop A in Epping estimated as many as 20 reports of snow and ice coming loose and in some cases striking other vehicles.

One incident on Wednesday involved ice from a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 in North Hampton that flew off and shattered the windshield of another vehicle.

A driver was also cited for negligent driving after ice came off a vehicle and broke another vehicle’s windshield while they were traveling on Route 16 in Dover, Hennessey said.

Other incidents have also been reported on Route 101.

“We’re getting a lot of reports of ice flying off vehicles and we’re trying to track the vehicles down. People are calling, which is great,” he said.

Hennessey said police will follow up and try to find the vehicle responsible, which can be challenging if they’re notified too late.

It is against the law for drivers to leave snow and ice on their vehicles.

A negligent driving law was enacted in 2002 after the death of Jessica Smith, a Nashua woman who died after an accident caused by a large piece of ice that flew off a tractor-trailer in 1999.

Violators face fines of up to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second offense.

Hennessey encouraged drivers to call police when they see vehicles with large amounts of snow and ice on the roof so they can catch them before something happens. He also urged drivers to keep their distance from vehicles that could pose a hazard.

Hennessey said tractor-trailers are always a concern because it’s difficult for the drivers to clear all of the snow and ice from the roof. However, he said they’re still responsible for keeping their vehicles clean.

“We’ve been lucky this week. So far we haven’t had any serious injuries and no serious damage,” he said.

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