Winter has shared its bounty this season with several rounds of frozen precipitation and the current forecast signals it may be far from over. The Missouri Department of Transportation is monitoring for changes in the weather and pavement temperatures. Crews, equipment and materials are all ready and MoDOT is looking to the traveling public for cooperation to make the road clearing process go smoothly.
According to MoDOT Maintenance Engineer Henry Haggard, drivers can take steps to make everyone safer as they share the road. “Staying at least 100 feet behind the plow truck, dimming your lights and being patient are all simple ways to stay safe,” Haggard said. “It is easy to get in a hurry when you come up on a slow moving plow truck but it is important to realize the easier you make it for them to do their work, the faster you will be traveling safely on a clear roadway.”
While staying back at least 100 feet may seem excessive, the reason is just as much about the motorist as it is the plow truck. “You shouldn’t forget we are spreading chemicals to help the ice and snow melt from the roadway,” Haggard said. “These chemicals can get on your vehicle if you travel too closely and by hanging back a little, you can be certain the driver in the truck knows you are there.”
According to Haggard, there are things to consider when passing a plow truck that make it unlike passing regular vehicles. This includes the width of the plow, which can exceed the width of the travel lane. “Make sure you have plenty of sight distance, realize plowed snow or ice can spray and obscure your vision as you go around the truck and take care not to keep too close to the side of the truck,” he said. “Also important is giving plenty of room to trucks you meet in the opposing lane as many of the same factors come into play.”
As always, MoDOT will implement its priority system for clearing roads. Major highways will be cleared first before moving to second and third tier priorities. “We work to clear the roads with the highest traffic volumes first,” Haggard said. “This is in keeping with our commitment to creating uninterrupted traffic flow.”
Customers are encouraged to visit the MoDOT Web site, www.modot.org, for road condition information. A map featuring the major routes throughout Missouri is updated regularly to reflect the latest conditions. A text report also can be viewed. Specific questions can be directed to the toll-free customer service line, 888-ASK MoDOT (275-6636), or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.