Government of Saskatchewan Improves Snow Plow Visibility

Government of Saskatchewan Adds Extra Lights to Snow Plows

The Government of Saskatchewan has taken the necessary measures to make snow plows more visible by installing additional coloured lights to all their snow removal equipment. The initiative by the Saskatchewan government is designed to ensure motorists can spot snow removal equipment much easier on the highways.

Starting December 21, the government will ensure snow blowers, graders and snow plow equipment will have blue and amber flashing lights. The blue and amber combination is unique to snow removal vehicles, and it will help Saskatchewan motorists to see when the equipment is working on the highways. The lights will be used when the equipment is plowing, salting, sanding or inspecting the highways.

The cost of the additional light installation for each snow removal piece of equipment is $1,500. Currently, Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland and the Yukon use the blue and amber light combination. The light combination will be a first for the Saskatchewan snow removal equipment, which has only had the amber light system until now.

Drivers are reminded to slow down and stay back of snow plows that are clearing the roads. In Saskatchewan, it is illegal to pass a snow removal vehicle with its lights flashing when traveling over sixty kilometres. Drivers are encouraged to exercise patience when it comes to sharing the road with snow removal equipment.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation Also Improves Snow Plow Visibility

In an Ontario study of snow removal equipment carried out by the Ministry of Transportation, it was determined that the roof light on snow removal equipment be replaced with amber and blue LED light bars. Snow removal rear light was determined to be the best when the amber lights remained continuously illuminated while the blue lights flashed at a synchronized 1HZ rate (one flash per second). The slower rate of flashing was determined by researchers to subconsciously let motorists know that the vehicle is moving slowly. To read the MTO’s findings on snow removal equipment, visit, http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/pdfs/road-talk-newsletter-winter-2015.pdf

Young Drivers of Canada suggests the following tips when it comes to sharing the roads with snow plows.

1. Exercise patience. Snow plows often travel slowly as they are removing snow and spreading salt, sand or anti-ice liquid on the roads.

2. Never pass a snow plow. Snow plows are wider than an average vehicle. The blades on a snow plow extend into the lanes beside them. This can cause a dangerous situation for motorists who try to pass a snow plow.

3. Leave space for a snow plow. Snow plows often centre themselves along the mid part of the road to clear as much snow as possible. If you see a snow plow approaching, move to the right of the road, if possible, to allow for the most amount of space for the snow plow to pass.

4. Snow plows can create reduced visibility. Even when snow plows move slowly, a “cloud” of powdery snow is created which can reduce a motorist’s visibility.

5. Snow plows usually travel in groups. Passing or driving in between these plows is dangerous, and motorists should stay well behind the pack of snow plows.

Winter conditions are inevitable in Canada. The goal of motorists should be to respect those who make the roads clear and safe for driving. Snow plows will get you home safely by clearing the roads. Let snow plow drivers focus on the snow and not on motorists!