As the calendar creeps forward, it’s time to expect cold temperatures and winter storms. When it snows or sleets, the result often leaves the roads in poor conditions, and drivers are at risk of sliding or losing control of the vehicle. While poor weather may be enough to make you stay in on the weekend, many of us need to brave the roads to get to work during the week. During these early hours, it may be common for you to see snow plows getting rid of the snow and covering the roads in salt.
It’s important for drivers to know how to navigate the roads while being attentive to the weather and larger vehicles like snow plows. With the correct knowledge, people can drive confidently when the road conditions are perfect.
Drive Safely Near Snow Plows
The Nebraska Department of Transportation has a safety guide for how you should drive when you encounter a snow plow. When you’re driving near a snow plow, exercise caution with the following steps:
- Slow Down. Snow plows typically drive 25-30 miles per hour less than the given speed limit. They need to move carefully so they can do their job and not cause a major accident. When you’re behind a snow plow, it may be tempting to pass them. However, it’s important to remember that the road ahead is likely not cleared yet, and the drivers have more blind spots. Snow plows can also get pushed to the side from snow drifts and may cause a collision.
- Don’t Pass in Snow Clouds. The plow may create snow clouds from pushing the snow to the side, which can decrease your visibility. Don’t pass in these situations because you may not see other vehicles or snow drifts. The clouds can also obscure someone’s vision of you.
- Never Pass a Plow on the Right. If you’re going to pass a plow, never do so from the right lane. Some plows are equipped with an extension that goes on the side of the truck. You may not be able to see it because of the snow.
- Deicing Material. Plows are often doing more than clearing snow. They usually also leave salt, sand, or another chemical agent on the road to clear away snow and ice. Give the snow plow plenty of room so you’re not sprayed with deicing material.
- Be Aware. If there’s a plow on the road with you, awareness is key. You need to see where it is, get an idea of its speed, and make sure you’re not doing anything that could potentially cause an accident.
With these points in mind, you’ll be more comfortable driving around snow plows and will know how to keep yourself safe in their presence.
Tips for Driving in Snow
Even if you’re behind a snow plow, it doesn’t mean the road is in the safest condition. The salt may have not had time to melt everything away or snow could still be falling. There are extra measures you can take to increase your winter road safety in inclement weather.
- Know the Weather Conditions. Check the weather before you leave so you know what to expect.
- Have Fuel. Have fuel in your car so you don’t get stranded in the cold.
- Clear Snow Off Your Vehicle. Take the time to clear excess snow off your vehicle. It can slide off on to your windshield or fly to a car behind you and obstruct the driver’s view and potentially cause an auto wreck.
- Allot Extra Time. Give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes to get to your destination so you’re not tempted to speed on roads where you should be driving slowly.
- Carry a Cell Phone. Just in case something does happen, carry a cell phone so you can call for help.
- Use Main Roads. Snow plows will most likely take care of main roadways first, so they will be in better condition.
- Dress in Layers. Be comfortable in your car so you’re not restricted or overheating while driving.
These tips will help you stay safe in the winter months. With more people prepared for driving in winter weather, there’s a better chance of reducing car accidents and injuries.
Welsh & Welsh Can Help You
In the event of a car accident, you need dependable legal professionals who will fight for your rights. If you were injured because of a reckless driver, an Omaha car accident lawyer from Welsh & Welsh will help you with your claim. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation of your case.