In many parts of the country winter is in full force and with it comes cold weather, snow, snowy roads, and snowplows. Snowplows are fantastic pieces of machinery and keep our roads open in difficult winter conditions. Over the years snowplows have become more powerful and efficient at the task of moving snow from our roads. Most drivers ed courses don't cover much about snowplows and how to drive safety in their presence which we'll cover in this article.
While driving on winter roads, you will often be around snowplows when they are working to keep the roads clear. The large size of a snowplow coupled with slippery winter roads and low visibility can create dangerous driving conditions. Drivers should take extra precautions when driving near slowplows. In this situation, safety can be increased by following a few simple guidelines:
- Under very poor road conditions, avoid unnecessary travel.
- Snowplows are there to clear the roads for you so be patient around them.
- Make sure that everyone in the vehicle are wearing their seat belts and that children are secured in a proper child restraint.
- Snowplows often create a "snow cloud" creating very poor visibility. Stay at least 5 car lengths behind a snowplow to avoid the "snow cloud".
- Snowplow drivers will pull over when it is safe to allow cars to pass them.
- Be alert as snowplows will turn or exit frequently with little or no warning.
- Stay in your lane and don't follow snowplows as they may drive over centerlanes in order to clear the entire road.
- Leave extra travel time to arrive at your destination as snowplows travel slower than normal traffic and you may wind-up following one for a period time.
- Slow down because the roads are slippery and visibility may be limited.
When driving on winter roads dealing with snowplows is a natural part of the driving environment. The most important item to realize is that they are there to keep the roads clean and safe for you so be prepared to be patient and let them do their job.