(COUNTY OF BRANT, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), County of Brant detachment would like to remind the motoring public about leaving extra distance when you see a snow plow on the roadways. With the anticipated snow fall and the accumulation expected, there are lots of things to consider while driving in winter weather conditions, one of which is slow moving snow plows that head up lines of traffic on area roads.
Snow plows by their very design can cause extensive damage or even death if involved in a collision. It isn’t uncommon on multi- lane highways to encounter plows staggered side by side clearing the highway in one sweep. The average speed of a plow is well below the posted speed limit. This is because the truck has to slow down to clear the roadway safely. Ahead of the plow is untreated and often very slippery roads and passing one is a risky manoeuvre.
It is important for all motorists to allow operators the room to work to avoid a potentially deadly collision. Be patient, slow down and ensure you are well prepared for winter roads and always adjust your speed to existing road and weather conditions.
Here are some safety tips that the motoring public should take into account if they find themselves behind a snow plow.
- Be patient and keep a safe distance behind working snow plows. Snow plows often travel slowly because they are removing snow, spreading salt or sand, and applying liquid anti-ice to roadways.
- Never pass a snow plow. Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a meter or more ahead and into the neighbouring lane. Passing a snow plow could result in a collision.
- Don’t drive beside snow plows. You risk collision as snow plows sometimes shift sideways when they are plowing packed snow or drifts.
- Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centerline of a roadway to remove snow. If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right if conditions allow to ensure there is enough space for them to pass you safely.
- Beware of reduced visibility. Even at reduced plowing speeds, a light powdery snow forms a cloud in the wake of a snow plow that severely restricts a driver’s visibility making passing extremely dangerous.
- Do not pass between snow plows in tandem. On multi-lane roads snow plows often work in tandem, forming an echelon or “conga line”. Passing or weaving between these plows is dangerous. Please stay well back of echelon plows.
- Watch for snow plows on sunny days. Snow plows and removal equipment must be out for several hours after a storm clearing shoulders and cutting back snow banks. Please look out for plows even on clear days.
“Drivers need to use extra caution when sharing the road with snow plows. We want to help drivers understand that passing snow plows can result in dangerous collisions. Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and failure to take necessary precautions when following, approaching or passing snow plows may cause you serious harm or even death. Be patient. They are clearing the roadway to assist in safer travel,” comments Constable Ed Sanchuk, Brant County OPP.