MnDOT snowplow crews gear up for winter

Submitted Article
The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s snowplow operators are trained, experienced and prepared for another winter weather season.    
“MnDOT has the equipment, technology and know-how to continue to provide first-rate service and performance,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “But we count on motorists to do their part in helping us keep the roads as safe as they can be by giving our plows room to work.”
Last year in Minnesota, 21 crashes took place between vehicles and snowplows. Crashes usually are caused by inattentive motorists, motorists driving too closely to the plow or by driving too fast for given conditions.
Plow operators have much to monitor and control while on duty, and their ability to see behind them is limited. Their vision also can be hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing.
“Each of us need to reeducate ourselves for winter driving, which means increased awareness, reduced distractions and greater care and patience when traveling from point A to point B,” Zelle said. “We need to remember that the plows’ sole purpose is to make the roads as clear and passable as they can be—and as quickly as possible.”
Safe winter driving means:
-Checking road conditions at www.511mn.org or dialing 5-1-1 before heading out; Being patient and remembering that snowplows are present for motorists’ benefit; Staying back at least five car lengths behind plows. Plow operators pull over when safe to do so to allow any built-up traffic to pass;
Staying alert for snowplows that may turn or exit with little warning. Plows also travel over roadway center lines, or partially in traffic, to further improve road conditions; Slowing down to a safe speed and driving for conditions, allowing for plenty of travel time. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds; Buckling up and ensuring that kids are properly seated and in the right type of car seat; Avoiding unnecessary travel if road conditions are poor or hazardous

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Ronald D. Wobbrock
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