Minnesota Department Of Transportation Urges Drivers To Be Careful Near Snowplows
With significant snow forecast for much of the state this week, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use extra caution during plowing and snow removal operations. MnDOT reports there have been 22 crashes so far this season involving vehicles and snowplows.
“Inattentive drivers, motorists driving too close to the plow and motorists driving too fast for conditions are the main causes of these crashes,” said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer. “Our snowplow drivers are well trained to drive their plows, but motorists should be patient and stay back from the plow. Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads.”
Lund said that operators’ ability to see behind them is restricted behind the truck so they must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side of the truck.
“Their vision is also hampered by the snow clouds created while they plow. So, the safest place you can be is well behind the snowplow and away from the snow cloud it creates,” he said.
Minnesota law requires motorists to turn on their headlights when it’s snowing or at any other time when weather conditions impair visibility.
Other recommendations for save driving around snow plows include staying alert. The snowplows often turn and exit frequently with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve the road conditions.
Also, you should stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Never drive into a snow cloud. Slow down to a safer speed during snowy conditions. Turn on your headlights and always wear your seatbelt. Lastly, don’t drive distracted – be patient and remember the snowplows are working to improve the road conditions for your trip.
Drivers can always check road conditions on 511mn.org.