Plow Season Is Here……Tips To Keep You Safe On The Roads

Winter in Central New York can be pretty rough. From October to April, the beautiful Salt City turns cold and snowy and commuting becomes hazardous. During the winter months plow trucks take to the streets to keep our roads clear and safe and we must remember to keep an eye out for them. They’re an extremely common sight in Syracuse during the winter. Generally speaking, they’re very hard to miss. It’s best to try to give them as much room as possible. They’re quite large, they can move quickly in some situations where your car might not be able to. Snowplows tend to travel at a lower rate of speed than other vehicles, so be sure to slow down if you see one in front of you.

During winter storms, DOT’s across the state work around the clock to keep the roads open and clear of snow and ice. Snowplow operators are extremely safety-conscious, but they need your help. Stay back and let them safely do their job of clearing the road for you. By simply practicing a few road safety habits, you can avoid getting caught by surprise, plan ahead and be aware of alerts and advisories in your area.

Safety tips for drivers:

When traveling on roadways during the winter months, it’s important to keep snowplow safety strategies in mind. Snowplow drivers have a big responsibility and need full cooperation from drivers to complete their job safely. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while on the roads this winter season.

  • Keep your distance- Plow operators cant see directly behind their trucks. There are many situations where the driver must stop or backup. Keeping a safe distance behind a snowplow will protect you from possible injury and protect your car from salt/sand being applied to the road.
  • Pass with caution- If you are attempting to pass a snowplow, avoid doing so on the right-hand side of the plow. When the plow is being operated, the material being removed from the road surface is discharged on the right side of the truck.
  • Low visibility- When a snowplow is being driven, it can create a snow cloud behind it. This drifting snow can greatly reduce visibility. You can’t be sure if such conditions are caused by crosswinds or by a snowplow, so be patient. Snowplow operators periodically pull over to allow traffic to pass.
  • Access roads and highways- The plow could be in either lane, or on the shoulder. Watch for snowplows on interstate ramps and “authorized vehicle only” turnarounds.

Safety tips for plow operators:

Snowplow safety is something that every plow operator must be aware of. During the winter season, the blowing, drifting snow mixed with slick roads provides for hazardous conditions for plow operators. Plow operators have a great responsibility when working out on the roads. They must maintain full control of all equipment while at the same time being aware of their surroundings and other drivers. Here are a few tips to keep you safe on the roads this season.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and know your route- Make sure you know the location of obstacles along your route like mailboxes, fences, signs, posts, etc. This will save damage to your plow and property.
  • Driver fatigue– Always make sure you are well rested before going out on a shift to plow. Although it seems impossible at times, make sure that you are not feeling too drowsy or sleepy.
  • Maintain safe speed- Many of the accidents involving snowplows are caused by the plow operator traveling too fast for the road conditions.
  • Truck Inspection- Be sure that all equipment is in good working order prior to plowing, (Defroster, plow equipment, spreader, wipers, etc.).
  • Obey all laws- Always be sure that you wear your seatbelt and obey all traffic laws.
  • Be Patient- You have a job to complete, but you must be patient of other drivers and pedestrians around you.