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The dangers of driving while 'peeping' in Minnesota

If you are like many Minnesotans, you may have done everything you could to avoid going out of the house for the past several days. Temperatures and wind chills were near record-breaking levels across much of the state and residents were warned to stay inside if at all possible.

But many people needed to get out of the house. Whether they had to go to work or run to the grocery store, leaving the house was unavoidable for many of us. And while some of us got into a car to head out, others braved the cold on foot. And for many of these pedestrians, it wasn't just the frigid air that they needed to worry about. They also needed to be on the lookout for what people are calling "peephole drivers."

We have probably all seen a peephole driver, and may have even been one at one time or another. These are the drivers who get into their vehicles without scraping their windows to clear off the ice and snow sufficiently. Instead, they clear off one small patch on their windshield so that they can see what's in front of them; any only what's in front of them. 

These small holes of visibility are simply inadequate for driving safely in Minnesota. Clearing off a peephole on the windshield does not help a driver see things to the side of a vehicle or behind the vehicle, making it very likely that a driver will cause an accident. Often, the victims of these accidents are pedestrians crossing the street as a peephole driver is making a turn or bicyclists sharing the roads with vehicles. Without the benefit of peripheral vision, a driver is blind to anything that is not directly in front of the car.

According to Minnesota state law, drivers are required to clear their windshield and side windows so that they have proper vision. However, many people neglect this responsibility for a number of reasons. Some are in a hurry; others are too cold and some people don't even have a window scraper. But none of these is a legitimate reason to put another person's life in danger. Victims should remember that negligent, unsafe drivers can and should be held accountable when they cause a car or pedestrian accident, especially if the driver should have seen it coming.

Source: Valley News, "'Peephole Drivers' Ignore Safety and Law When They Don't Scrape Cars," Kim Ode, Jan. 5, 2014

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Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, PA

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