How to Safely Share the Road with Snow Plows

source: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Winter has a way of transforming our familiar streets into a snowy wonderland, but with this enchantment comes a significant increase in driving hazards. As you brave the icy roads, the sight of a huge, noisy, slow-moving snow plow might be a common occurrence. If you’ve ever wondered how to safely share the road with these behemoths, you’re in the right place. 

Staying Safe in Snowy Conditions

Driving in snowy conditions can be nerve-wracking, whether it’s a light dusting or a heavy snowfall. When the flakes are falling fast, your chances of encountering a snow plow are high. These vehicles, essential for clearing the roads, don’t operate like your typical car. They move slowly, turn often, and sometimes overlap, making it crucial to understand how to share the road safely.

The Art of Keeping Your Distance

First and foremost, when you spot a snow plow ahead, remember that snow-covered roads mean increased braking distances. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the plow, as sudden stops can lead to dangerous situations. Snow plows also have significant blind spots behind and on either side. Staying alert and being aware of their limited visibility is crucial for your safety.

So, how far back should you stay from a snow plow? A good rule of thumb is to maintain a distance of at least 70 feet. This gives you ample time to react to any sudden movements the plow might make.

source: Getty Images/iStockphoto

To Pass or Not to Pass

The question often arises: can you pass a snow plow, and if so, how? Passing a snow plow can be done safely if you follow the right procedures. However, it’s important to note that in most cases, it’s smarter and safer not to pass them. Snow plows are there to clear the road, and they are usually equipped with multiple safety features like snow gates that can release a sudden burst of snow. Passing them can put you at risk.

If you must pass a snow plow, always pass on the left. This is the standard practice, as the plow’s blade typically extends to its right side. However, exercise extreme caution, ensure you have a clear view of the road ahead, and be mindful of any sudden movements by the plow.

When the Plow Is Traveling in the Opposite Direction

Encountering a snow plow traveling in the opposite direction can be a bit less intimidating, but there are still important things to keep in mind. Just like any other large vehicle, maintain your distance and be cautious when driving near them.

If the plow is approaching from the opposite direction, remember not to crowd the centerline. Snow plows need space to maneuver, and if they encroach on your side of the road, stay clear and give them room to work.

Sharing the road with snow plows during winter is a matter of safety and courtesy. Keep a safe distance, stay alert to their blind spots, and only pass when necessary. By following these guidelines, you can navigate snowy roads with confidence and ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Stay safe and enjoy the winter wonderland!

Remember, your safety on the road should always be your top priority. Drive carefully and responsibly in winter conditions, and always be prepared for the unexpected.