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A Portage Co. plow truck. (Metro Wire photo)

Nov. 27 marks Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day in Wisconsin

Metro Wire Staff

Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed Monday, November 27 as Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day in Wisconsin to remind motorists to give snowplow drivers plenty of space to complete their jobs safely.

In partnership with the Wisconsin County Highway Association (WCHA), the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) urges drivers to slow down and be alert on Wisconsin roads this winter.

“Wisconsin’s snowplow drivers work long hours in tough conditions to keep roads clear and safe every winter season,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “We applaud them for their dedication to safety and service, and also ask that drivers do their part to keep our roadways safe. Eliminate distractions when driving, always give snowplows room to work and, when possible, avoid travel during major storms.”

For more than 100 years, Wisconsin has maintained a unique partnership with the state’s 72 county highway departments. During the winter, county highway workers help keep interstate, U.S. and state highways safe by providing snow plowing, salting and liquid brine applications. WisDOT works with Wisconsin counties year-round to establish best practices and test new tools for safety and efficiency.

“Wisconsin winter weather can wreak havoc on travel plans,” WCHA Executive Director Patrick Vander Sanden said. “Snowplow drivers take their work very seriously including overnight, weekends and holidays so that we can all continue to get to work, school and all the places we need to be. Please be attentive and patient whenever driving in the winter and give plows room to work – it’s the best way to say thank you.”

Wisconsin allows flashing green warning lights on county or municipal maintenance vehicles – in addition to red or amber lights. The green warning lights are meant to increase safety, enhance driver awareness and improve visibility of maintenance vehicles.

Motorists can thank Wisconsin snowplow drivers by staying safe on the road this winter.

  • Before traveling, visit 511wi.gov to check road conditions, live video from traffic cameras and possible incidents. Download the 511 Wisconsin mobile app to “know before you go.”
  • Buckle up, phone down. Every trip, every time.
  • Watch the road ahead and allow plenty of following distance.
  • Most traffic crashes in winter are caused by drivers going too fast for conditions. Posted speed limits apply when travel conditions are ideal. Drivers are advised to slow down when roads are slick or visibility is reduced.
  • Stay at least 200 feet behind a working snowplow. Make sure that you can see the plow’s mirrors to ensure the driver can see you.
  • If you must pass, be careful. Snowplows often create a cloud of snow that can obscure vision. Remember that road conditions in front of the plow will likely be worse.
  • Don’t be over-confident if you operate a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle. They still require a considerable distance to stop on slick roadways.
  • During major winter storms, postpone or cancel your trip. Stranded motorists and vehicles become hazards that interfere with snow removal efforts.

WisDOT recently produced two radio Public Service Announcements to emphasize safe driving around snowplows. The 15-second and 30-second spots will be shared on radio stations across the state.