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February 11, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Snow Etiquette

The Northeast and the Mid Atlantic over the past week and a half have seen more snow than they know what to do with. Many are wondering ‘whose job is it to clear the snow?’

For roads during snowstorms, most cities mobilize personnel and vehicles to spread salt and plow roads as conditions dictate. The first priority for salting is usually hills, bridges and major arteries that lead in and out of cities. When the snow is long lasting and deep many cities will outfit their garbage trucks with plows to supplement their regualr fleet of snow plows.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

What about on your sidewalk or in front of your property?

Home and property owners are usually responsible for clearing snow and ice from all private residential and commercial property, including areas in and around driveways, sidewalk, and walkways. It’s common courtesy not to shovel the snow from the sidewalk into the street. Some cities will fine you for that, like Newark. When digging your car out of the snow, push the snow from the car towards the curb not the street. In parts of Maryland, business owners and multifamily homeowners must clean up within 24 hours after the snow stops falling or face a fine. Virginia is a little more lenient relying entirely on moral persuasion, without legal penalties for failure to do the right thing.

Jason Reed / Reuters


If you are unsure about who’s suppose to clear the snow, check with your city and do your part to avoid the hazards and dangers snow creates.




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