Snow Plow Safety Tips from the BC Transportation Ministry

Due to several recent collisions involving Snow Plows in BC, the ministry of transportation would like to remind drivers to be more careful around Snow Plows, especially on the Coquihalla Highway where the collisions occurred.

Snow plow safety tips

The Transportation Ministry has issued these tips for drivers on snowy highways:

  • Turn on your head and tail lights during heavy snow or rain, even during the day.
  • Use winter-rated snow tires with the mountain-snowflake symbol.
  • Give snow plows plenty of space – about 10 car lengths.
  • Salt and winter abrasives, as well as rocks and other debris in the snow, can fly – hitting nearby vehicles and decreasing visibility.
  • Tailgating any vehicle puts you at risk of a collision; tailgating a piece of heavy equipment armed with plows only ups the consequences.
  • Don’t pass snow plows. It’s not safe. The plow could be equipped with a wing blade on its left or right side, which can be obstructed by the snow it’s throwing.
  • The plow also may be the first of a series of two to four more plows, staggered diagonally across the road to clear all lanes simultaneously. This practice is called Echelon Plowing, and would require the unwise driver to make multiple unsafe passes.
  • Pull as far over to the right as is safe when you see a snow plow approaching from the opposite direction along an undivided highway. That way, you will be clear of any salt or sand.
  • Don’t assume the snow plow operator can see you, especially if you’re driving too close and visibility is poor (which it often is in snowstorms). Your best defense is to keep your distance.
  • Give the snow plow operator a wave when they pull over to let you pass. They’re doing the job for you!


Ministry of Transportation

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

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