This winter has been harsh in terms of temperature and snowfall, and even places like California and Nevada are getting their fair share. Due to snowstorms in South Lake Tahoe, snow plow drivers have been busy trying to keep the roads clear.

For one driver, he hit a bump in the road that saved someone’s life. While out on his rounds, he accidentally hit a parked car that was buried under several feet of snow. A woman was found trapped inside the vehicle and had to be rescued.

The snow plow operator called for assistance to dig the vehicle out and that’s when he and police officers discovered someone was inside. The woman waved her hand against the glass and that’s when she was noticed.

The 48-year-old told police that she was in there for four or five hours, but due to the amount of snow around and on top of the vehicle, they believe it was much, much longer. Fortunately, she was in good condition, but the outcome could have been way worse.

She had no cell phone and police think that she is a homeless person who was living in her car. The incident led city spokesperson Chris Fiore to remind residents that vehicles should not be illegally parked when bad weather is expected.

City officials say that it’s an ongoing problem that impedes the snow removal process and poses a danger to everyone. Snow crews can have trouble distinguishing piles of snow from cars, and if a plow hits one, it may not end well.

Fiore told local news station KOLO:

“We say this all the time, but it is so important to get cars out of snow removal areas and for everyone to be careful using vehicles during major snow events. Being inside of a buried car, or starting a car buried in snow could have deadly consequences.”

In this town, it is typical for police to be contacted if a snow plow hits a vehicle so that a report can be filed, and normally, the car is then towed. It had been snowing for days and the city was busy clearing snow out before the next storm.

A police lieutenant told the Reno Gazette Journal that in his two decades, he’d never seen a case like this one. Imagine what could have happened in this scenario if the woman was unable to dig herself out of all that snow on her own. With another storm brewing, it would not have ended well.

If you live in an area where your vehicle is vulnerable to large snow piles like this, it’s recommended to pay close attention to your tail pipe, battery, and brakes. Exposure to prolonged cold and moisture from snow can impact your car’s safety and performance.

In areas where heavy snowfall occurs, it’s not uncommon for snow plows to trap or damage cars, mailboxes, and other pieces of property. If possible, watch out where you park!

What do you think of this story? Have you seen similar confusion between snow piles and cars? Has your city had mishaps with snow plows and vehicles?