NH Law About... Snow Removal

Introduction to... Snow Removal

Posted December 17, 2012. Revised November 27, 2013; December 19, 2014; December 9, 2016.

This guide discusses snow removal from roads and sidewalks. As you can see from the sources listed below, researching this issue may involve local ordinances, state statutes, case law, and agency policies. We suggest that you start by directing library patrons to their local ordinances; most municipalities have them online. There may be a special "winter operations" page or snow removal policies may be found in the ordinances. Ordinances may cover issues such as winter parking bans, salt or no-salt use, and priorities for plowing of roads and sidewalks. This will vary from town to town. We have included a couple of examples below.

Periodically we see articles in NH newspapers about whether or not property owners are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property. Those articles often refer to a case which is over 100 years old: State v. Jackman, 69 N.H. 318 (1898). It's hard to find cases this old online so we've scanned the opinion and included a link to it below.

The “Read About …” section of this guide refers to resources about the law and will provide context and key terms. “Read the Law …” links to selected laws and should be used as a starting point for further research. “For More Help…” provides links to legal information programs, libraries, and legal assistance.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.

Read about... Snow Removal


New Hampshire Local Government Center. New Hampshire Town and City. "Winter Maintenance of Roads and Sidewalks." Vol. LII, no. 10 (November/December 2009)  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

New Hampshire. Dept. of Transportation. Winter Maintenance

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

"It is impractical to develop specific rules on winter maintenance operations due to the numerous variables involved in winter storms. The judgment of the local highway patrol foreman governs the type, quantities and application schedule of materials used to control snow and ice. It is the intent of the NHDOT to use the minimum deicing or anti-icing material needed to restore safe travel conditions as soon as practical following termination of winter storms."   GO>

U.S. Dept. of Transportation. FHWA. Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report, 2013

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

Laws and municipal ordinances play an important role establishing who is responsible for pedestrian facility maintenance. In determining which entity is responsible by law for the maintenance, it is necessary to review state statutes and often state case law to determine legal precedent in cases of civil liability. In most circumstances, liability in regards to pedestrian facility maintenance revolves around trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall cases on sidewalks. If a pedestrian trips on a cracked or uneven sidewalk or slips on an icy sidewalk in winter, sustains injuries and/or damages and seeks monetary compensation, who is found at fault and why?   GO>

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Read the law about... Snow Removal


RSA 230. State Highways   GO>

Link verified on: May 12, 2017

RSA 231. Cities, Towns and Village District Highways  GO>

Link verified on: May 18, 2017

RSA 236. Highway Regulation, Protection and Control Regulations  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

RSA 507-B:2-b. Snow, Ice, and Other Weather Hazards  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 26, 2017

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


2009-0012. Tinker v. Commissioner Dept. Of Transportation   GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016


69 N.H. 318. State v. Jackman   GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

126 N.H. 286 (1985). Ritzman v. Kashulines

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

On January 17, 1982, Jane L. Ritzman slipped and fell on a natural accumulation of snow on the shoulder of Main Street in Hopkinton. Mrs. Ritzman fell while walking toward the sidewalk in front of the defendants' store, The Cracker Barrel. The area where she fell is used for parking by customers of the store and has been periodically plowed by the defendants. Mrs. Ritzman and her husband filed suit against the defendants, alleging that the defendants had a duty to maintain the parking area in a reasonably safe condition and that Mrs. Ritzman's injury was proximately caused by a breach of this duty. The Superior Court (O'Neil, J.) dismissed the suit in response to a summary judgment motion of the defendants.   GO>

120 N.H. 788 (1980). Rutkauskas v. Hodgins

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

The principal issue in this case is whether the owner of a building which redirects precipitation, thereby causing an accumulation of snow and ice on a public sidewalk immediately adjacent to the building, is strictly liable to a tenant who is injured by falling on the snow-covered sidewalk. We hold that there is no such liability.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: June 26, 2017

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>


Bradford, N.H. SOP Snow Removal and Ice Control EFF: 12.01.09  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

Bradford, N.H. Parking on Public Ways During Snow Storms  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

Concord, N.H. Winter Operations  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016


Concord Historical Society. Captain Jackman's Snow Job  GO>

Link verified on: December 9, 2016

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: June 26, 2017

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>

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