While we haven’t seen a lot of snow in many areas of the province since winter began, snowfalls are becoming commonplace on Saskatchewan highways.
With snowfall comes snowplows on the roads, and David Horth director of communications with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways, has some tips on keeping safe around snowplows.
He says that motorists should be aware that snowplows in operation are driving slower than posted highway speeds. “You need to drive defensively. They can create a mini blizzard when there’s snow around them, which can really reduce your visibility.”
He says that snowplows have blue and amber lights to let drivers know that they are there, and that snowplows pull over to let traffic pass approximately every 10 km.
That 10 km is not an exact number says Horth. “They won’t pull over at precisely 10 km if there isn’t a safe place to pull over – they're going to wait until they’ve got a safe location to move aside.”
A snowplow in operation should be treated like a police vehicle when you are passing. On highways you should slow to 60 km to pass it when the blue lights are on, for the safety of the snowplow operator, yourself, and any passengers.
If you have the time, sometimes the safest place to be is behind the snowplow. “You’re getting the freshest, best highway you can possibly get in snowy conditions.”
The Highway Hotline is constantly updated to inform drivers in Saskatchewan about current road conditions on the highways. It’s always a good idea to check conditions to help you make an informed decision before setting out – or you can pull over or have a passenger check the Highway Hotline App on the road.