The County Road Association of Michigan asks motorists to wear their seatbelts, allow extra time to reach their destinations, and remember- “Don’t Crowd the Plow!”
Trucks typically plow and salt at speeds of 45 miles per hour or less depending on road conditions. Often motorists become impatient and this can lead to life-threatening mistakes.
Motorists traveling at higher rates of speed on a freshly plowed and salted road may come up quickly upon a vehicle plowing snow or spreading salt. Every year, despite the flashing lights, this difference in speeds on winter roads leads to the rear-ending of snow plows.
Plow drivers have limited visibility and cannot see directly behind their trucks. When plowing, a “snow cloud” is often thrown up restricting visibility on all sides of the truck.
Motorists should not attempt to pass or travel next to a snow plow vehicle while it is plowing. Plows can suddenly move sideways from hitting drifts or by cutting through packed snow.
Motorists should NEVER attempt to pass a snow plow on the right. Many plows are now equipped with wings that allow the plow driver to clear both the shoulder and the lane of travel in the same pass. These wings can extend six feet from the plow and weigh as much as a small compact car. When obstructed from view by the ‘snow cloud’ this poses a significant danger to motorists violating the law and attempting to pass on the right/shoulder of the road.
Road crews put their lives on the line to keep Michigan’s roads safe for travel. A little more patience and awareness will help us all reach our destinations safely this winter.