It's good information for ALL motorists, but especially for parents that have a teen that is new to winter driving.  Just seeing the presence of snow plow usually makes me more cautious, they're out for a reason.  Having to drive near one can be tricky and dangerous.  The DOT is passing along some important information that should be shared and retained by all.

Recently the Northeastern Minnesota Department of Transportation snow plow crews have reported several dangerous encounters with motorists.  That can be deadly.

Snow plows have the important job of keeping our roadways clear and safe.  We, as motorists need to give them the space they need to do their job and keep everyone safe.   Please stay at least five car-lengths behind the plows or pass, if you must, with extreme caution.

Snow plow trucks can be twice as wide as a semi-truck. They have plows that extend 12 to 15 feet out from the front of the truck and side “wing” plows that extend eight to ten feet from the side of the truck.

MnDOT plow operators monitor an entire console of controls and technology to operate a snow plow truck. While plowing they can create blinding snow clouds that make it hard for them to see motorists and for motorists to see them.

Motorists should remember to:

  • Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  •  Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.     Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
  •  Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone.