With significant snow and strong winds forecast for Friday and Saturday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation advises motorists to plan for difficult driving conditions or make alternate plans.
Heavy snowfall combined with moderate winds can dramatically reduce visibility during the storm and continued wind gusts after the storm may prolong MnDOT snowplow drivers’ ability to recover the roads.
MnDOT crews will be splitting their shifts to provide coverage until late evening on Friday. However, if the snow, winds and dark reduce visibility to a point where it is dangerous, snowplows may be called in until it is safe to return.
Plows will be out early Saturday as conditions allow, but MnDOT encourages motorists to plan ahead and check road conditions at www.511mn.org and to use the cameras to check on visibility prior to traveling.
Snowplow drivers are well trained, but motorists should be patient, stay back from the plow and only pass when it is safe to do so. Snowplows travel slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads. Operators’ ability to see behind them is restricted behind the truck so they must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side of the truck.
Recommendations for safe driving around snowplows:
- Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over center-lines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
- Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
- Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
- Turn off the cruise control.
- Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
- Don’t drive distracted.
More winter driving safety tips can be found the Department of Public Safety Winter Awareness website at dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Pages/winter-driving.aspx.