5 On Your Side

Ice flies off car, smashes woman's windshield

Posted January 25, 2016

— Kayla Acklie was driving on Capital Boulevard in Wake Forest on Sunday when a chunk of ice broke loose from the back window of a passing car and hurtled toward her.

"It lifted off of his car and went flying through the air. It was completely airborne," Acklie said Monday. "I could see it turning in the air. It was a huge piece of ice. You couldn't miss it."

Unfortunately, she didn't. The flying ice smashed her windshield.

Two other drivers reported similar experiences on Monday. One driver was on Interstate 440 when a chunk of ice from another vehicle smashed a corner of the windshield, and another described "a 3X5 foot (solid) piece of ice" that flew off an SUV and hit her car. "Happy to be alive," she added.

All three drivers were able to pull over safely without anyone being hurt.

"If someone had just taken a little bit of extra time to get the ice off their car, we wouldn't be in this scenario right now," Acklie said.

Drivers can be fined in some states for not clearing snow or ice off their vehicles, North Carolina doesn't have any such laws.

"We kind of call it a common-sense law," said Lt. Jeff Gordon, spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. "Just basically take the time, not only for yourself, but for other motorists that are out there."

Gordon said flying ice can create a domino effect of hazards on the road.

"The first thing people do is they panic. They lock up. They swerve," he said. "Anytime you have any debris in the road, that can cause head-on collisions, that can cause sideswiping of other vehicles."

Another driver got the tag number of the vehicle responsible for shattering Acklie's windshield, and the flying ice will likely end up as a civil matter between the two drivers and their insurance companies.

Employees of a nearby Food Lion covered Acklie's car with a tarp and allowed her to leave the car in the parking lot until the windshield is repaired.


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  • Steve Faulkner Jan 26, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    I was kind of wondering if NY was one of the states that has the law about cleaning off your car, but like you said, it could have been a rental.

  • Kari Cowperthwaite Jan 26, 2016
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    It's not a matter of following too closely at all. The grey car that was pictured after her video is my car. I was driving on 440 very far behind the car in front of me with ice on its roof...intentionally. I saw the ice, and held my distance with hopes of staying out of the debris in case it went flying. When it did, it looked similar to the initial video - the whole sheet of ice went airborne and stayed that way for a long time, then split into several large chunks, one of which smashed my windshield. It was unavoidable, even at my distance. PLEASE CLEAN OFF YOUR CAR BEFORE DRIVING!!! That was absolutely terrifying, and I am grateful I was able to maintain my composure and control of my car.

  • Mary Meadows Jan 26, 2016
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    Mark Anderson I agree with you wholeheartedly. It's also obvious from reading these comments that there are some people who simply cannot apply basic logic and common sense to a relatively simple matter. I've learned that it's not worth the time of day to try to convince them otherwise as some people just don't get it and sadly, never will.

  • Patric Pederson Jan 26, 2016
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    The thing I found ironic was the person whose car it flew off of had NY plates...I guess it is possible that was a rental vehicle but if the person was from NY, you would think he or she knew better given the large amount of winter weather that occurs in that region.

  • George Herbert Jan 26, 2016
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    While there may not be a specific law that requires drivers to clean snow and ice from their vehicles, it seems like law enforcement officers could cite someone for a violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-116(g): "No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is constructed and loaded to prevent any of its load from falling, blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom, ...."

  • Richard Eskridge Jan 26, 2016
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    I saw ice sheets fly off of the top of a semi trailer on i40. The ice sheets flew from the outer lanes to the inner lanes and hit the back of a pickup truck going in the other direction.

  • Lori Duke Jan 26, 2016
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    For those of you saying don't follow too closely, she posted her story on Facebook, as well. She wasn't even in the same lane as the other car, so she wasn't following too closely. I was coming down US 1 this morning and was in one lane and a van was several car lengths in front of me - in the other lane - and I saw ice fly off the top of it and it went right over my car, thank goodness. Last year, I saw ice fly off the top of a tractor trailer. Thank goodness it didn't hit anyone.

  • Chad Johnson Jan 26, 2016
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    They told them to stay off the roads for a reason. If you go out be prepared to dodge flying snow/ice from cars and don't follow so close.

  • Paul Guzski Jan 26, 2016
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    Finally, another voice of reason. This guy gets it.

  • Mark Anderson Jan 26, 2016
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    I cannot believe people here like Russell and others trying to blame the woman whose windshield was shattered instead of the driver of the car that let loose the ice sheet. I saw a similar thing happen on Sunday afternoon on a street with a 45mph speed limit and a 3 foot by 3 foot sheet of ice flew off the top of an SUV and flew, intact and spinning, for at least 10 car lengths back before it hit the pavement! Fortunately I was in the other lane and nobody was in the lane where it hit, but following distance and driver attention for those behind is NOT the issue. Just think how far that would travel at higher speeds on I-40 or the beltline.

    With 45 degree temps on Sunday and sunshine, ice sheets like that are floating on a thin layer of melted ice on top of vehicles and will lift off cars like a sail when the wind hits them. Whether NC has a law to clean that off your car or not....does anyone really want to be responsible for causing a bad wreck or at worst, a fatal accident?