Graphic for Winter Control-Snow Plow Safety Tips

Snow plow road safety tips

When the snow falls, Municipal crews immediately start clearing the way for you. With such a large network of roads and sidewalks clearing snow from Municipal streets and sidewalks requires collaboration and support from staff, contractors and residents. Residents can help make the process safer for everyone. One way to help is please slow down and let snow plow operators lead the way when you see a blue light.

Below are some additional tips that you can do to make our roads safe and clear of snow. 

  • Be patient and keep a safe distance behind working snow plows. Snow plows often travel slowly because they are removing snow, spreading salt or sand and applying liquid anti-ice to roadways. 

  • Never pass a snow plow. Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a metre or more ahead and into the neighbouring lane. Passing a snow plow on the right could result in severe and even fatal collisions. 

  • Don’t drive beside snow plows. Snow plows sometimes shift sideways when they are plowing packed snow or drifts which could put you at risk for a collision. 

  • Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centre line of a roadway to remove snow.  If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right, if conditions allow, to ensure there is enough space for the plow to pass you safely. 

  • Beware of reduced visibility. Even at reduced plowing speeds, a light powdery snow forms a cloud in the wake of a snow plow that severely restricts a driver’s visibility. This makes passing extremely dangerous. 

  • Do not pass between snow plows in tandem. On multi-lane roads snow plows often work in tandem, forming an echelon or “conga line”. Passing or weaving between these plows is dangerous.  Please stay well back of echelon plows. 

  • Watch for snow plows on sunny days. Snow plows and removal equipment are out for several hours and even days after a storm clearing shoulders and cutting back snow banks. Please be aware of plows even on clear days. 

  • Teach children to play away from the road. The driver of a snow plow may not be able to see a child playing in the snow. 

  • Children should never build snow forts or tunnels along the roadway. Snow forts and tunnels may collapse or be pushed down by snow plows or removal equipment. 

  • Pedestrians should ensure they are visible. Pedestrians should move back from the road if they see or hear a snow plow approaching.