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What to Expect When Following a Snow Plow

MoDOT works hard to clear roads after a snowfall to make them safe for motorists. Clearing roads also involves cleaning up intersections, interchange ramps and median crossovers. Motorists should give snowplows plenty of room to work, remember not to tailgate and try not to pass.

MoDOT, Flickr

When a plow enters an intersection it frequently backs up and turns to properly clear the intersection of snow banks and drifted snow; this may take a few passes back and forth with unanticipated maneuvers such as backing up and making wide turns. The amber warning lights on snow removal equipment are there to alert motorists and remind them to yield the right of way. Motorists should have patience, be aware of what they are doing and allow them the room to do this.

A snowplow with the plowing wing is 15 feet wide and the truck in 45 feet long. Stay at least 100 feet (five to six car lengths) back when you are following behind snowplows and other snow removal equipment so the snowplow driver can see you. Remember that plow drivers have limited visibility from inside their vehicles. Also, if you are directly behind the truck, chemical and material for snow and ice control cannot be applied to the road.

Crews are working to make the highways safer for everyone. It is the motorist’s job to drive cautiously, pay extra attention to signs and be patient. We want everyone to get home safely. Always buckle up, and remember when driving in winter to slow down.

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