Snow Removal Equipment
Knowing how to behave around snow removal equipment when you encounter it on the highway is important for both your safety and that of the equipment operator. These trucks must operate at optimum speeds to remove snow, drop sand and salt or apply brine. A bit of patience is required if this optimum is not what you consider appropriate for you.
Please keep in mind that during a winter event or during the storm clean up period, that snowplows require plenty of room to operate. You may see the snow plow but the snowplow operator has restricted vision and they may not be able to see you.
Snow removal equipment is exempt from the usual rules of the road if the operator exercises due care in the circumstances. Be cautious of unexpected behaviour!
Never pass a plow on the right, as this is typically the direction in which snow is being thrown. In addition, trucks are sometimes outfitted with extra wing plows that extend from the side of the truck, and these can be hidden in the cloud of snow that is being thrown.
Never tailgate a snowplow, as the operator may be required to come to a sudden stop if they detect an obstacle on the road ahead of them. Sudden turns may also be necessary.
When plows are operating in a group, be careful not to get caught between them. Having your car between two or more plows creates an unnecessary obstacle for them to watch for.
A single plow might be two lanes wide. These are often referred to as tow plows.
Passing a snowplow on the left is not recommended either. Large accumulations of snow can be thrown from any part of the truck, including the tires and undercarriage. If you must pass, use extreme caution and be aware of the snow cloud.
During sanding operations, the operators try their best to shut off their applicators when approaching traffic, though this is not always possible to do, as the application must be continuous on hills and on curves, as well as on any icy section of highway. When you see a sanding truck approaching, pull to the right as much as safely possible and slow your travel speed.
Please consider where you park your vehicle. If you choose a spot that interferes with snow removal, it could be towed away and stored at your expense.
Motorists should always be patient when traveling in winter conditions. Plow truck operators are working for the safety of yourself and your families. Their own safety is greatly compromised when motorists around them do not offer them enough respect.
Keeping as far to the right as possible when meeting a plow is good advice! This happened 2020-11-27 near Prince George:
I did drive a snowplow for a season recently and it was one of the most fun jobs I ever had.
One situation not mentioned in the original post; when you have to be the first one on the road after a heavy snow fall and you are cautiously making your way down a road with no other traffic, be aware that the snowplow coming up behind you is probably going faster than you to clear the road properly, please don't slow down more and pull to the right inviting him to pass, he can't lift his blade to do so as he will leave a long stretch of the road unplowed and if he doesn't lift his blade he will bury you with the snow he is pushing. Please, when safe to do so pull to the left lane, or the other side of the road and allow him to go by while still clearing the road making it safer for all the vehicles that will follow.