ST. PAUL, Minn. – There have been more than 30 crashes this season involving vehicles and snowplows, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use extra caution during plowing and snowing operations.
“Crashes typically happen because of inattentive drivers, motorists driving too close to the plow or motorists driving too fast for conditions,” 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 they create while plowing. So the safest place you can be is well behind the snowplow and away from the snow cloud it creates,” he said.
Last year in Minnesota, there were 48 crashes involving vehicles and snowplows.
Minnesota law requires motorists to turn on their headlights when it’s snowing or at any other time when weather conditions impair visibility.
Here are some other recommendations for safer driving around snowplows:
- Stay back and stay alive. Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
- Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
- Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
- Turn off the cruise control.
- Be patient, and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
- Don’t drive distracted.
Motorists should check road conditions at 511mn.org.