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6 Tips For Driving Safely Near Plows in the Winter

Common sense advice for staying safe on the roads.

The State Department of Transportation offers the following tips for driving safely, while plows are busy clearing the streets.

These tips are especially valuable for young drivers who may be driving in winter for the first time.

  • Remember the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow. Plows will typically travel under 35 mph and there is always a temptation to pass them. For your safety, it is recommended that you stay a safe distance behind the snowplows.

  • During plowing operations, visibility can be reduced by blowing snow and plow operators may need time to stop or move over to avoid stranded vehicles. Keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the plow is very important in order to avoid accidents.

  • Allow plenty of room when passing a snowplow. Do not cut back into the lane ahead of the plow too quickly since the blade extends several feet ahead of the truck. Some snowplows are equipped with a "wing plow," an eight-foot extension off the side of the truck. Be aware that the hazard exists 

  • When you see an approaching snow plow on an undivided roadway, move as far away from the center line as you safely can since blowing snow may obscure the actual width of the snowplow's blade. 

  • Turn on your lights to see and be seen. Brush the snow off your headlights and taillights frequently.

  • Winter driving requires motorists to be careful and alert, but the most important tip for winter driving is: SLOW DOWN!

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