Winter driving can be full of inconveniences and frustrating delays. But it’s important to remember that snow plow operators are working to make the roads safer and they deserve your courtesy and patience — even when you’re running late. Here are some tips from the North Dakota Department of Transportation on how to share the road safely with snow plow trucks. You may want to pass this list along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
- Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow fog. Snow plow operators will pull over when it’s safe to do so to allow traffic buildup to pass.
- Stay alert since snow plows turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions.
- Slow down and drive according to the conditions. Most winter crashes are caused by driving too fast for conditions. Snow plows typically move at slower speeds.
- Know where the snow plow is on multi-lane roadways. The snow plow could be in either lane or on the shoulder.
- Be extremely cautious when passing a snow plow. They can be moved sideways by snow drifts and hard snow pack.
- Never drive through “white-outs” or “snow fog” caused by cross winds or plowing snow. Wait until you can see.
- Watch for plow trucks on interstate ramps and “authorized vehicle only” cross-overs.
- Turn on your headlights because this will increase your visibility to other motorists and snow plow operators. Remove snow from your vehicle that could cover your taillights.
- Be patient and remember that snow plows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
- Don’t assume you will have good traction because the road looks sanded. The sand can sink into the snow pack, leaving a slick surface.
- Never use cruise control on wet or icy roadways.
To view a video featuring this advice, click on the photo or link below the headline.