With the first snowfall in southern Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists to drive safe and use extra caution during plowing and snow removal operations.

Plows will be out early, but MnDOT advises motorists to plan ahead and check road conditions at www.511mn.org before traveling.  Motorists should expect early morning road conditions to be slippery and plan to add time to the a.m. commute.  In addition extra caution should be used on bridges, ramps, roundabouts and other intersections as they tend to ice-up quicker than other segments of the roadway.

Snowplow drivers are well trained, but motorists should be patient, stay back from the plow and only pass when it is safe to do so. Snowplows travel slower than the posted speeds because it is most effective for clearing roads. Operators’ ability to see behind them is restricted behind the truck so they must rely on mirrors to see to the rear and side of the truck.

Here are some other recommendations for safe driving around snowplows:

  • Stay alertfor snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Stay backat least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
  • Slow downto a safe speed for current conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off the cruise control.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don’t drive distracted.