Minnesota Department of Transportation’s snowplow operators were prepared to assist motorists through the snow, rain and sleet crossing the state Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 28-29.
“Our crews have the equipment and technology to do an excellent job of clearing Minnesota’s roads,” said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. “We need motorists to do their part to keep the roads safe, by giving our plows room to work.”
Operators have much to monitor and control, and their side mirrors are the only tool to see behind the plow. Plow drivers’ vision also can be obstructed by the snow clouds they create while plowing.
“To keep themselves safe and the highways open, motorists must slow down and drive according to road conditions,” Sorel cautioned. “This mild winter hasn’t given motorists much chance to practice winter driving skills. We should slow down and take our time if we have to drive in winter weather.”
Motorists need to stay at least five car lengths away from snowplows and give the plows time to remove the snow and melt the ice.
Safe driving means:
• 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 also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
• Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions and give yourself plenty of travel time. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.
• Buckle up and ensure children are properly secured in the correct child restraint.