After a snowfall, or when snow and ice accumulations are high, you can expect sanding and snow clearing operations. Snow clearing equipment operators are often doing work in unfavourable weather conditions to make roadways as clear and safe as possible for residents.
The flashing amber and blue safety lighting on snow clearing equipment is used to increase visibility and to warn motorists and pedestrians of on-going snow removal operations.
Residents are reminded to think safety first when in the vicinity of working heavy equipment. Plowing and sanding crews need room to do their work efficiently and effectively, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to Stay Back, Stay Safe.
Always remember to drive to winter conditions, be patient, allow additional travel time to get to your destination, and take alternate routes from equipment.
Winter road safety tips
Follow these tips when you encounter crews working to help ensure the safety of all road users.
- SLOW DOWN AND KEEP WELL BACK from snow clearing equipment.
The recommended distance is a minimum of 15 metres (approximately three car lengths).
- STAY BACK FROM SPREADER TRUCKS.
When a spreader truck is applying salt or sand to the road surface, slow down and keep back from the truck to prevent your vehicle from being hit with salt or sand.
- KEEP BACK and have headlights on at all times when travelling.
Snow clearing equipment may produce snow clouds that reduce visibility.
- BE PREPARED TO STOP.
Snow clearing equipment moves at much slower speeds than other vehicles, and operators also stop frequently to assess their work. Freshly plowed streets can also be slippery until sand/salt trucks have applied the appropriate material. Drive to conditions, and give yourself sufficient room to stop.
- DO NOT PASS TO THE RIGHT of the equipment.
Snow and debris are often plowed to the right and may pose a hazard to motorists.
- BE CAUTIOUS when approaching snow clearing equipment from behind.
Snow clearing equipment often makes several passes over the same area, which requires travelling in reverse. Vehicles travelling too close are at risk of damage or collision.
- MAKE EYE CONTACT.
If you are unsure of what a heavy equipment operator is about to do, wait and make eye contact with the operator – they may finish the task, or – if it is safe – stop and wave you through before continuing their work.
- AVOID DRIVING THROUGH WINDROWS.
Snow clearing equipment often makes several passes to clear a roadway. If you drive through a windrow, you may get stuck in the snow and ice, or scatter the snow and create a hazard for other motorists.