November 14, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Snow Plow Drivers Speak Out: Fatal Mistakes People Continue to Make

Snow Plow Drivers Speak Out: Fatal Mistakes People Continue to Make

Predictions About the Future FactsPxfuel

Winter brings with it the challenges of snow-covered roads, and snow plow operators are our unsung heroes in the battle against treacherous conditions.

While their mission is to keep the roads safe, there are crucial things every driver should know to ensure their safety and that of the snow plow operators.

In this article, we'll shed light on the dangers lurking on snowy roads and what snow plow operators desperately want drivers to understand.

Visibility is Limited

Snow plow limited visibility coachwood, Adobe Stock

Snow plow operators often work in near-zero visibility conditions, battling heavy snowfall. Their large plow blades and flashing lights may be the only things you see in a snowstorm.

Keep a safe distance behind them, as sudden stops can be perilous.

Stay Away from the Plow's Blind Spot

Snow plow on roadAnton Kudryashov, Pexels

A snow plow has significant blind spots, and drivers who tailgate or drive alongside it risk being unseen by the operator.

In the past decade, there have been over 200 accidents involving snow plows due to drivers in these blind spots.

Don't Attempt to Pass

Snow plow moving snowAntonio Tose, Pexels

Passing a snow plow is a risky move, as the road ahead is often more treacherous than the one behind.

In 2020 alone, there were 255 accidents involving snow plows, many of which resulted from dangerous passing attempts.


Be Patient and Give Space

Snow plow with car behind itDanila Popov, Pexels

Snow plow operators aim to clear the roads quickly, but it's essential to be patient. Tailgating them won't make them go faster; instead, it may lead to accidents.

The majority of accidents involving snow plows are caused by impatient drivers.

Snow Plows Throw Snow

Snow plow throwing snowAikon, Adobe Stock

Those snow plows aren't just clearing the road; they're also flinging snow to the sides. This snow can reduce visibility and cause accidents.

In 2019, over 1,200 accidents resulted from snow plow snow.

Ice Bombs are Real

Snow plows residentialLenzation Studio, Adobe Stock

As temperatures fluctuate, the snow left behind by plows can refreeze, forming dangerous ice patches.

These ice patches can create hazards for drivers, leading to accidents that increase the yearly tally of 156 accidents in 2018.

Avoid Distractions

The Dumbest People EverShutterstock

Snow plow operators need full concentration to navigate challenging conditions. Drivers who text, talk on the phone, or engage in other distractions not only endanger themselves but also those plowing the roads.

Distractions contributed to 31% of accidents involving snow plows in 2021.

Obey Snow Emergency Orders

Snow plows preparing for emergencyLane Erickson, Adobe Stock

During severe storms, snow emergency orders may be issued. Ignoring these orders not only puts your life at risk but also those responsible for clearing the roads.

Failure to obey snow emergency orders led to over 50% of accidents involving snow plows in 2017.

Don't Tailgate the Salt Trucks

Salt truckMilan, Adobe Stock

Salt trucks work in tandem with plows to melt ice. Tailgating them can result in salt hitting your windshield or damaging your car.

Each year, there are 122 reported incidents involving salt trucks and vehicles.


Keep an Emergency Kit

Car Emergency KitOur Today

Finally, always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle during winter. Accidents can happen, and it's crucial to have supplies like blankets, non-perishable food, and a flashlight to stay safe in case you're stranded.

Final Thoughts

Snow plows in blizzardbartsadowski, Adobe Stock

Snow plow operators brave harsh conditions to keep our roads safe during winter. Understanding the dangers they face and heeding their advice is not just for their benefit but for the safety of all drivers on snow-covered roads.

Let's drive cautiously, be patient, and give these operators the respect they deserve as they work to keep us safe.


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