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Don’t forget to give snow plows extra room, state patrol reminds drivers

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 4:21 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With snow moving into southern Wisconsin on Friday, the Wisconsin State Patrol wants to remind drivers to be careful around snow plows and give them some extra room on the roads.

WSP Capt. Anne Maxson noted most crashes involving snowplows and other vehicles occur when the plow is rear-ended, adding that, in most of those cases, the other driver was going too fast for the snowy conditions. Maxon added the best thing drivers can do to stay safe is stay home, if possible.

“For everyone’s safety, drivers should avoid travel during severe winter storms to allow snowplow operators to make their rounds. When driving in the vicinity of a working snowplow, give it plenty of room,” she said.

According to WSP figures, there have been more than 3,100 crashes involving snowplows in the last ten years. The state patrol reports three people were killed in those wrecks and nearly 400 more were injured.

“Snowplow operators work during challenging weather conditions to help keep roadways as safe as possible for all of us,” Maxson contined. “Motorists can help by giving snowplows plenty of room to operate and by staying off the roads during severe winter storms.”

It notes state law requires drivers to stay at least 200 feet behind a truck that it actively plowing snow on a highway where the speed limit is above 35 mph. Violators could face a $175 fine and three demerit points.

It also added these safety tips:

  • Snow means slow. Allow extra travel time, following distance and reduce your speed during wintry travel conditions.
  • If you must pass, be careful. Snowplows often create a cloud of snow that can obscure vision. Also, road conditions in front of the plow will likely be worse.
  • Motorists and vehicles that become stranded during winter storm events become major hazards that interfere with snow removal efforts. Again, if possible, stay off roads during severe winter weather and wait until conditions improve.

You can track the progress of the storm with our interactive radar and get localized alerts for where you live on the free NBC15 Weather App (Download it for iOS or Android)

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