Snow Plow Road Safety Tips

  • Be patient and keep a safe distance behind working snow plows. Snow plows often travel slowly because they are removing snow, spreading salt or sand, and applying liquid anti-ice to roadways.
  • Never pass a snow plow. Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a meter or more ahead and into the neighbouring lane. Passing a snow plow could result in a collision.
  • Don’t drive beside snow plows. You risk collision as snow plows sometimes shift sideways when they are plowing packed snow or drifts.
  • Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centreline of a roadway to remove snow. If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right if conditions allow to ensure there is enough space for them to pass you safely.
  • Beware of reduced visibility. Even at reduced plowing speeds, a light powdery snow forms a cloud in the wake of a snow plow that severely restricts a driver’s visibility making passing extremely dangerous.
  • Do not pass between snow plows in tandem. On multi-lane roads snow plows often work in tandem, forming an echelon or “conga line”. Passing or weaving between these plows is dangerous. Please stay well back of echelon plows.
  • Watch for snow plows on sunny days. Snow plows and removal equipment must be out for several hours after a storm clearing shoulders and cutting back snow banks. Please look out for plows even on clear days.
  • A tow-plow is a regular plow blade mounted on a trailer and pulled by a combination truck. The trailer is moved over to the right to clear the next lane. Do not pass a tow plow. Click here for a video on what a tow plow looks like.