Winter driving is not for the faint of heart. However, here in the northeast, drivers have little choice but to endure. The good news is that there is the infrastructure in place to help make our roadways less treacherous. Whether laying down salt and sand or removing the stuff altogether, snowplows do a wonderful job of keeping our roads passable during the long winter months. However, the presence of snowplows can present a hazard to drivers all on their own.
Here are a couple of tips for safely sharing the road with a snowplow.
Avoid the temptation to pass
We all want to reach our destinations quickly, and time can feel like it’s stopped when you’re stuck behind a slow-moving plow. Try to remember that the plow driver is clearing a path and is making the roadway safer. If you get ahead of the plow, you’re likely to run into some rough conditions which provide the perfect setting for a catastrophic accident.
Keep your distance
Keeping your distance is good advice no matter who happens to be in front of you. However, it doesn’t matter what you’re driving. Your vehicle will lose in a battle with a snowplow. PennDOT recommends keeping at least six car lengths behind a plow. This will help you avoid driving into a blinding cloud of snow. It’s also important to keep in mind that you don’t know what a plow might do. Drivers may have to slow down to avoid other or hazards on the road. You want to give yourself plenty of time to react if something unpredictable occurs.
After the plows have come through
If you park on the street, you should also take safety precautions after the plows have come through. Snow can build up around your tailpipe. If your exhaust pipe is blocked by snow, you run the risk of having carbon monoxide build up in your car. Clear away your tailpipe along with your roof and windows.
Safe driving is important no matter the season. However, winter brings its own unique set of driving challenges. By staying alert when the plows are on the road, you can help avoid becoming another accident statistic.