Here we go again! After a relatively tame December and January, winter came roaring back with a vengeance in February, making for long commutes, slippery roads, driveways and sidewalks, and cancellations across the state.
As I have stated numerous times, I am NOT a fan of winter driving. The older I get the more I realize that, despite growing up in northern Wisconsin, I dread the arrival of winter weather and the challenges that come along with it. And this is coming from someone whose dad spent decades working for Bayfield County, putting in long hours to ensure roads were well maintained, especially in the winter. I truly appreciate the sight of snow plows out clearing and treating the roads to ensure safe passage. It’s a tough job, made even harder by drivers who drive too fast for conditions, don’t yield to the plow operators and drive too close or try to maneuver around them.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) recommends the following for safe driving around snowplows:
- Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines 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.
Minnesota law requires motorists to turn on their headlights when it’s snowing or at any other time when weather conditions impair visibility. Yet sadly, many motorists fail to comply, putting themselves and others in danger. And please - SLOW DOWN!!!!! We all have places to go, and we all want to get their safely. Finally, a heartfelt thanks to all the dedicated snow plow drivers, emergency responders, dispatchers, and people like my dad who work so hard to make the roads drivable again. You are the true heroes of winter.