(Madison) Monday is ‘Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day’ in Wisconsin and it appears to be a timely designation with snow storms in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross says snowplow drivers provide a critical public service that helps ensure continued operations for business, medical services, schools – and life in general all winter long. As part of a century-old partnership, WisDOT contracts with all 72 county highway departments for winter maintenance on state roads. Motorists are urged to say ‘thank you’ to by driving safely near plow trucks and giving them room to work. Drivers should stay 200 feet behind a working snowplow and make sure you can see the plow’s mirror to ensure the driver can see you.
Snowplow safety tips include:
- Before traveling, call 511 or go online (511wi.gov) to check on road conditions and possible incidents. Consider downloading the 511 Wisconsin smartphone app.
- Buckle up, watch what’s happening ahead of you and allow plenty of following distance.
- Most traffic crashes in winter are caused by drivers going too fast for conditions. Posted speed limits apply when travel conditions are ideal. Drivers are advised to slow down when roads are slick or visibility is reduced.
- Stay at least 200 feet behind a working snowplow. Make sure that you can see the plow’s mirrors to ensure the driver can see you.
- If you must pass, be careful. Snowplows often create a cloud of snow that can obscure vision. Remember that road conditions in front of the plow will likely be worse.
- Don’t be over-confident if you operate a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle. They still require a considerable distance to stop on slick roadways.
- During major winter storms, postpone or cancel your trip. Stranded motorists and vehicles become hazards that interfere with snow removal efforts.