In this nasty winter weather, you know the last thing you want to worry about is dodging the snow and ice flying off from atop truck trailers. Not only is it frightening, it can be very dangerous. Two entrepreneurs from Manawa are doing what they can to make sure you never have worry about being struck by the muck again.
Richard Rowe - A Better Snow Rake
"I like solving problems, so I went ahead and we worked on solving the problem," said Richard Rowe.
A dynamic duo, Rowe and William Postel are solving a problem truckers have been dealing with for years. That problem is ice missiles. Trucks sitting outside in the winter often accumulate snow and that snow tends to build up and sometimes forms sheets of ice.
"When these chunks of snow fall off, it also makes it difficult to predict how the other motorists around them are going to react to that. They may take evasive action which will cause a chain reaction with other vehicles around them that could cause accidents," said Wisconsin State Patrol Sargent Rhae Stertz.
"It's quite dangerous driving down even from Wausau here," said Danielle Sadowski of Wausau. "There was a lot of snow on the back of a pick up truck and it flies off and hits your windshield and can be very distracting when you're driving."
"People try to avoid that snow falling off and they hit the ditch or hit the median and those concrete barriers," said Rowe
That's the premise behind a new law in Connecticut requiring all drivers to clear off all snow and ice. The law states drivers "shall remove any accumulated ice or snow from such motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk and roof of such motor vehicle, so that any ice or snow accumulated on such vehicle does not pose a threat to persons or property while the vehicle is being operated on any street or highway of this state." Drivers who do not do this can be given a $75 citation and if any snow or ice from their car results in damage, they're looking at a $200 to $1,000 fine. However, it is difficult and unsafe for truck drivers to get on top of their trailers to clear off the snow. So, Rowe, trucker himself, and Postel created something to help make clearing snow and ice safer and easier.
"This is 'A Better Snow Rake.' It's a multi-use tool," said Rowe.
It's a light-weight, low-tech aluminum rake to clear snow off the tops of trucks or even roofs. They've been working on the design and selling them for the past four years when truckers continuously received tickets in New Jersey for a similar law. Other solutions have come up, but many of them are much more costly and not as portable.
"Nobody likes a $1200 fine. It's a lot easier buying a $144 rake, getting it shipped to their door," said Postel.
This year alone they've sold more than 200 units in states with similar laws as well as in Canada. They say a law much like that of New Jersey's and Connecticut's will probably come to Wisconsin and if it does, they'll be ready.
Ice missiles are not exclusive to semi trucks. This can happen to your very own car, so when it gets snow, gets icy, you'll want to brush off that snow and ice to make it safe for both you and other drivers on the road.
Sgt. Stertz said there is a law requiring you to keep your windows reasonably clean. You can be fined $175 for having an obstructed view while driving. She said it's always a good idea to keep your car free of snow to make roads safer.
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