Safety & Accident

Video Safety Tip: Accommodating Snow Plows

December 17, 2017

<p><em>Photo by Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia Commons.</em></p>Photo by Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia Commons.

VIDEO: Don’t Crowd the Plow

A number of cities in the Midwest and Northeast have seen snowstorms in recent days, unleashing fleets of snow plow trucks to clear the way for local motorists.

Some agencies, including the Michigan Department of Transportation, now allow residents to closely monitor snow plowing progress online.

Sharing the road with snow plows requires patience and attention to safety measures. The State of Massachusetts offers this advice for sharing the road with snow plows:

  • Drive slowly.
  • Don't crowd the plow. Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows. Stay back at least 200 feet and don't pass on the right.
  • Be prepared for sudden stops.
  • Remember that visibility in front of the plow is often worse. Turn on your lights.
  • Brush the snow off your lights and taillights regularly.
  • Keep in mind that passing snow removal equipment is risky behavior. Road conditions will always be safer 200 feet behind the equipment. While it may be feasible to pass a single salt spreader operating on a multi-lane roadway, it’s never safe to pass a salt spreader or plow with its blade down, pushing snow. Never pass a group of plows that’s stretched across a roadway and engaged in plowing. They are literally passing hundreds of pounds of snow from vehicle to vehicle.

But if you must pass a salt spreader:

  • Reduce your vehicle's speed to safely pass.
  • Allow for extra room while passing a salt spreader. Their blades extend several feet ahead of the truck, so don’t cut in too fast.
  • Pass only on the salt spreader’s left.
  • Prepare for salt to bounce off your car.

For more tips on the subject from Lake County, Ill., click on the photo or link below the headline to view a video.

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