Snow, ice causing flying hazard on highways

Snow and ice hangs close to the edge of a semi, ready to fall off into traffic.
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On Hoosier highways right now, it is prime time for air assaults on cars from passing trucks.

As temperatures rise, the snow atop semi trailers falls, pelting cars in their wake.

"Generally, off a trailer like that, you could be talking 50 pounds, maybe up to 100 pounds, depending on how much ice is in it," said Bruce Kelley at Passwater's Auto Body in Broad Ripple.

They've seen the results drive right into the shop at Passwater's.

"It's usually windshields we have to replace," Kelley said.

So who is responsible for the damage? Just jot down the name of the company printed on the truck and it's problem solved, right?

Actually, police say, it's often hard to figure out who owns the semi and with windshield damage you often might not be able to follow the truck to get more information.

Kelley says his auto body customers usually find the truck companies "usually deny anything happened." He says your insurance company will usually cover the job under comprehensive, so there's likely no deductible to pay. But you could end up paying for it in higher insurance rates.

A truck industry task force recommends washing snow off before taking to the road or running the truck under hanging devices to physically scrape the trailer top. Some states make it illegal for trucks to run with "dangerous" levels of snow and ice up top.

Indiana has no specific law, but in many states, there are incentives for drivers to clear those semis. We asked Jose about it at a southside truck stop Thursday night.

"You weighed 1,600 pounds more just because of snow and ice?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yes," the trucker said, "and I got a ticket."

Jose received a $2,000 fine at a weigh station for being overweight.

For drivers of four-wheel vehicles, Indiana law doesn't say specifically how well your windows or other surfaces of your car must be cleaned. Both headlights and one tail light must be visible, though. Police may not ticket you for having snow on your windows or car, but if that obstructed view leads to an accident, you could be in legal trouble.