MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use caution during a winter season that’s already seen more than 30 crashes involving vehicles and snowplows – including a fatal incident Tuesday evening.
MnDOT State Maintenance Engineer Steve Lund says the crashes typically happen when motorists drive too close to snowplows and too fast.
“Our snowplow drivers are well trained to drive their plows, but motorists should be patient and stay back from the plow. Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads,” Lund said.
Lund says to keep in mind that snowplow operators’ ability to see behind them is limited and they must rely on mirrors to see to the side and read of the truck.
“Their vision is also hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing. So the safest place you can be is well behind the snowplow and away from the snow cloud it creates,” he said.
In 2016, there were 48 crashes involving vehicles and snowplows. And on Tuesday evening, a 30-year-old man was killed after rear-ending a plow south of Royalton, Minnesota.
MnDOT released these recommendations for safely driving around snowplows:
• Stay back and stay alive. Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
• 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.
• Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
• Turn off the cruise control.
• Be patient, and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
• Don’t drive distracted.