CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – As we see our first real accumulating snowfall of the season, it’s important to know what the laws and regulations are for clearing snow, because you could face liability if someone gets hurt on your property. 22News is working for you with an overview of the rules around snow removal.
Everybody loves the snow, right? It puts you in that Christmas spirit. The snow has started flying in the Pioneer Valley and that means it’s also shoveling season.
Some are excited to see the snowflakes fall, others like Arthur Manarite, not so much. “I know it’s gonna break my back like every other year, but we’ll see,” expressed Manarite.
Maybe he can try asking a friend like Brenna Behan for help, “Honestly I’m thankful I have a truck and I can just throw a plow on it. And plow out my spot at work, and at school, and help anybody out that needs to plow and doesn’t want to shovel,” said Behan.
Plows are allowed on private vehicles from October 15 to May 15, but don’t use it on the highway. That can land you a ticket, MassDOT handles those while local DPW crews handle surface streets.
Everyone has some snow to clear in their life but what is required? The state leaves most snow-clearing rules up to individual cities and towns and most say: it’s down to property owners to clear their homes, properties or businesses of snow.
Homeowners must clear the sidewalk in front of their house, and landlords are required to make properties safe and accessible for their tenants. If you don’t clear in a timely fashion typically within 24 hours, you could face a fine or liability if someone slips and falls.
Now, the other piece of snow removal that is up to you; taking care of your own vehicle. Make sure to clear your headlights and your hood to maintain visibility. The other piece of unique Massachusetts law is clearing your roof. To get that done, you may want to shop for something a little longer. There are snow brushes that extend to 50 inches and get the job done just fine.
“That’s what gets me. I see people with snow on top of their cars and they just think, ‘oh I’m just gonna start driving and it will fly off.’ Yes it will fly off, but it will just hit me behind you,” Behan told 22News.
Enjoy the snow, remember to clean off your car, and happy shoveling.