Jan 12, 2017 at 4:30 am
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The Minnesota Department of Transportation says drivers need to show more respect to snow plows.
Officials say there have been more than 30 crashes this winter involving vehicles and plows, already approaching last season's total of 48.
"Crashes typically happen because of inattentive drivers, motorists driving too close to the plow or motorists driving too fast for conditions," said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer.
"Our snow plow drivers are well trained to drive their plows, but motorists should be patient and stay back from the plow. Snow plows travel much slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads."
Lund points out that an operators’ ability to see behind their truck is restricted so they must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side 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 snow plow and away from the snow cloud it creates."
Minnesota law requires drivers to turn on their headlights when it’s snowing or at any other time when weather conditions impair visibility.
On Tuesday, a man was killed when he crashed his truck into the back of a snow plow that was clearing Highway 10, south of Royalton.
MnDOT has these other recommendations for what to do when you approach a snow plow.
· 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 snow plows 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.
Driving conditions can be found on the Minnesota 511 website.
Temp: 43°F (6°C)
Wind: 4 SE