We are thankful for snow plows and their intrepid drivers. They keep our streets clear, allowing us to get to work and home and to function as best we can despite the sometimes harsh winter. As great as snow plows are, they can be tough to share the road with, so here are a few things to remember as you are driving around on ice and snow.
- The best advice is to stay off the roads for as long as you can. This is not always possible, especially if work or family obligations cannot be delayed. Watching the local media reports and keeping up on social media will give you a good clue as to whether or not the roads have been plowed yet. Typically, cities, states and townships will delay plowing until the snow appears to have ended, so that can be frustrating. But, in general, you are going to have an easier commute or ride after the plows have come than before.
- If you end up on the highway or street with the snowplow, be strategic.
- Stay behind the snowplow. Everything in front of the snowplow hasn’t been plowed yet, so the roads directly in front of them are in the worst shape.
- If you see alternate roads that have been plowed, divert from the snowplows from a while. The plows typically go far below the speed limit. It can be tempting to pass them, but you’ll be in the danger zone if you do.
- If you are following a snow plow, stay far behind (six car lengths at least). The snow plows kick up lots of snow, which could impair your visibility. In addition, plow operators make frequent stops. They are focusing forward, not necessarily on you behind them.
- DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO AVOID PASSING A SNOWPLOW!
- If you absolutely must pass the snow plow, you must move all the way to the left in the passing lane, as the snowplow is wide and the cutting blade in front often extends beyond the front of the plow.
- Do not move back into the snow plow’s lane until you have safely cleared the snow plow and have given a large following distance for the driver.
- If you encounter a snowplow coming towards you on a road or undivided highway, try to move towards your right. The snowplow is big and displaces quite a bit of snow. It frequently shoots snow out to the sides, and this temporary snow shower can disrupt your vision. The greater distance you can create between you and an oncoming snowplow, the safer you will be.