Each winter, snowplows in Saskatchewan are involved in collisions with drivers. However, the majority of these collisions can be avoided by being aware and passing with care.
“Our snowplow operators are out working, often in poor weather, to provide safe roads for travellers in Saskatchewan,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Greg Ottenbreit said. “At times, our snowplows encounter others on the road that are travelling at speeds or passing in ways that make working conditions risky. We simply ask: be aware, pass with care.”
In recent years, the Government of Saskatchewan implemented clear laws to improve snowplow safety, which allows drivers to pass a moving snowplow when safe. Like any other emergency vehicle or tow truck, travellers must slow to 60 kilometres per hour when passing any highway equipment when warning lights are operating.
Snowplow operator Wendy Koslowski was involved in a serious collision in January of 2019. She was forced off work for several months and the recovery continues. The incident has impacted Wendy and her family.
“It snowed and I was hit from behind and when the car hit me – I hit the brakes and it came back on me,” Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure Snowplow Operator Wendy Koslowski said. “I was hurt pretty good. I was unable to pick up my daughter because of my shoulder.”
Provincial snow plows have flashing amber and blue lights. They use their blue lights when plowing, salting or sanding to increase visibility.
Drivers can help keep roads safe this winter by:
• slowing to 60 kilometres per hour when highway equipment or other emergency vehicles are stopped with warning lights in operation;
• staying back and staying safe since snowplows can create mini-blizzards known as the “Snow Zone”;
• allowing snowplows sufficient time and space since they will pull over about every 10 kilometres or when safe to do so;
• driving according to weather and road conditions;
• passing only when safe to do so; and
• planning ahead by using the Highway Hotline at www.saskatchewan.ca/highwayhotline or calling 511.
“Drive smart because it’s not a race,” Koslowski said. “Drive safe.”
Highways are inspected regularly by plow operators to determine if plowing, salt or sand is required for the ice conditions as well as to report conditions to the provincial road information system, the Highway Hotline.