Be safe around snowplows

Be safe around snowplows The South Dakota Department of Transportation's (SDDOT) snowplow drivers were prepared this week for the first winter snowstorm. In parts of South Dakota, trucks have been out since early Jan. 4 getting a jump on the snow.

"We've been waiting for a significant snow event and we're prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us," said Mike Durick, SDDOT's director of operations.

Durick encourages drivers to be aware of snowplows this week. He offers the following tips:

* Drive with care around snowplows. They travel slowly, but are providing a public service and are clearing the roads as quickly as they can.

* Snowplow drivers need to concentrate on their task and the road conditions in front of them so they may not spot a vehicle trying to pass.

* Leave enough room between you and the snowplow to avoid being peppered with grit or having your car splashed with chemicals.

* Remember the road in front of the snowplow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow.

* Slippery spots might remain on the highways even after they have been cleared. Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses.

* Snowplow drivers will be on the lookout for stranded vehicles, but travelers should prepare for a winter storm, be sure to dress warmly and pack a winter survival kit.

Durick also reminds drivers to wear their seatbelts. "The message is getting out. Over the weekend, icy conditions resulted in several serious accidents. Fortunately most of the people were wearing their seatbelts which prevented them from being thrown from their vehicles."

Drivings are encouraged to call 5-1-1 before they start out for the latest weather and road conditions. The 5-1-1 system covers all state highways in South Dakota.

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