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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Freezing rain fell throughout Northeast Ohio overnight, leaving some of us with icy covered cars. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding folks that not clearing your car before driving is not just dangerous, it’s actually illegal.

OSHP Sgt. Ray Santiago tells FOX 8 News it’s against state traffic laws to drive an unsafe vehicle, along with not keeping lights and license plates cleared, that’s where people can get into trouble.

As the Ohio Revised Code section 4513.02 states in part “no person shall drive or move on any highway any vehicle, which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person.”

Yet every winter, some drivers don’t take the time to fully remove snow and ice from their cars and then unknowingly hit someone else’s vehicle with debris.

“It’s a problem every year,” Santiago says. “Every time we get to wintry weather … clearing off the car could be [seen as] inconvenient for some.”

So how clear does your vehicle need to be?

“As clear as possible,” Santiago says. “The key for that is to be operating the vehicle as safe as possible to not hurt another person.”

And if you did get hit by ice and snow from a passing vehicle, Santiago says the most important thing is to remain calm and try to get a vehicle description and plate number to assist in an investigation.

In general, Santiago advises drivers to plan ahead during this season of freezing temps and pothole-filled streets.

“Know you’re coming into inclement weather,” Santiago says. “It’s longer to warm up your car; it’s a slower ride. But if you plan ahead, a lot of it can be easier. Planning, preparation and patience: It’s what I’ve been telling people all winter.”