Highway Snow Plow Lighting

THE DOS AND DON’TS OF HIGHWAY SNOWPLOW SAFETY

highway snowplow safety

As winter blankets the landscape with its frosty charm, it also ushers in a set of formidable challenges, especially for those tasked with the vital undertaking of ensuring our highways remain clear and safe.

Highway snowplow operators play a central role in maintaining safe road conditions during the winter months. Their tireless efforts keep traffic flowing smoothly and prevent accidents on our snow-covered highways. However, operating a snowplow on the highways during winter can be a challenging and potentially hazardous task. Today’s blog serves as a comprehensive guide to ensure highway snowplow safety. Whether you’re a seasoned plow driver or a newcomer to the profession, it’s essential to be well-informed about the industry’s best practices and safety precautions. Not only will this knowledge help you keep you safe, but it will contribute to the safety and well-being of other road users around you.

Join us as we delve into the essential aspects of highway snowplow safety, covering everything from vehicle maintenance to driving techniques and safety protocols. Let’s ensure that this winter season is not only efficient but also accident-free for everyone involved.

The Dos of Highway Snowplow Safety

Proper Training

In the world of snowplow operations, the importance of well-rounded training cannot be overstated.

According to the National Safety Council, a comprehensive training program is essential to ensure the safety and efficiency of snow removal operations. These training programs should encompass a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on practice sessions, allowing every member of the crew to become intimately familiar with the operational procedures.

The training should cover various aspects, including the geographical areas to be plowed, the types of problems likely to be encountered during snow removal and the expected outcomes. It’s not just about teaching the basics; it’s about preparing the crew for the real-world challenges they may face.

Once the initial practice runs have been completed, providing maps that indicate priority routes for snow plowing, sanding, and salting in multi-lane sections is essential. These maps can serve as valuable resources, ensuring that the crew knows exactly where their efforts are needed most, promoting efficient and effective snow removal operations.

However, the training journey doesn’t end here. To keep snowplow drivers sharp and at their best, continuous learning is imperative. This involves regular refreshers and timely safety updates, ensuring that the crew remains well-informed and prepared to adapt to changing conditions.

Ongoing Vehicle Maintenance

Routine inspections and preventative maintenance are essential in ensuring both the functionality and safety of your highway snowplow.

To ensure that your snow removal operations are carried out safely and efficiently, here are some key inspections and considerations to bear in mind:

  • Pre-Use Inspection: Before each use, conduct a thorough inspection of all snow removal equipment– lights, brakes, windshield wipers, exhaust systems, tires, chains and steering.
  • Visibility & Warning Lights: Ensure that warning lights are visible from all angles, even when the plow blades are raised or lowered.
  • Cutting Edge Condition: Regularly inspect the cutting edge to assess the wear point and ensure it hasn’t worn down to the level where it contacts the ground.
  • Traffic Safety: Always respect the rights of other road users and adhere to all traffic laws while performing snow removal operations.
  • Emergency Equipment: Regularly inspect fire extinguishers and flares.
  • Winter Maintenance Schedule: Establish a consistent winter maintenance schedule to keep your snow removal equipment in top shape.
  • Critical Component Inspection: Check air and hydraulic hoses, as well as other critical components for power units, to prevent unexpected breakdowns.
  • Safe Driving Practices: Keep in mind that driving above speed limits can lead to accidents and even fatalities, especially during snowstorms or at night. Avoid rushing through jobs to ensure safety.
  • Post-Storm Inspections: Inspect your vehicles after each snowstorm, and promptly address any repairs by coordinating with the garage or staff mechanic.
  • Snowplow Hoists & Blades: Regularly inspect snowplow hoists and underbody blades to maintain their effectiveness.
  • Equipment Inventory: Maintain a sufficient stock of tires, tire chains, spreader repair parts and other essential supplies and tools to be well-prepared for any situation.

By following the above tips and maintaining a rigorous inspection and maintenance routine, you can ensure that your highway snowplow operates efficiently and safely, reducing the risk of accidents and disruptions while performing your essential snow removal tasks.

Effective Communication

Effective communication between snowplow operators and other road users is critical for ensuring the safety of fleets, drivers, and the general public.

With winter’s unpredictable snow and icy weather, clear and consistent communication is absolutely essential. Without it, vehicle fleets risk colliding with roadblocks and missing their targets, leading to potential hazards on the road.

At the forefront of these communication networks is dispatchers. In constant contact with highway snowplow operators during snow events, they are responsible for making critical decisions, such as when and where to initiate snow removal operations, what equipment to use and when to close facilities for safety reasons.

Mobile radios are often the medium of choice in such scenarios, becoming indispensable tools in facilitating essential communication and coordination between snowplow operators and dispatchers. They ensure that everyone is on the same page, contributing to safer winter road management.

Speed and Distance

When it comes to snowplow safety on the highway, maintaining the right speed and distance is critical.

To better navigate snow-covered or slippery roads, it’s advisable to drive at speeds generally around 45 mph or less (equivalent to 72 km/h). This reduced speed promotes better control and stability, which are essential when road conditions are less than ideal.

Equally vital is the need to maintain a safe following distance. Keeping a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front ensures that you have ample time to react to any unexpected situations that may arise.

By adhering to these guidelines, we can significantly enhance highway safety during the challenging winter months, safeguarding ourselves and others on the road.

Safety Equipment

Highway snow plows play a vital role in ensuring safe winter travel, and they employ various types of equipment to enhance safety on these expressways.

An example of one such tool is reflective markers. These markers serve as beacons of guidance, particularly during low visibility conditions, directing drivers along the cleared path and preventing them from straying off course.

Warning lights are another vital component of highway snowplows. Alerting other drivers to the presence of the plow and the potentially hazardous conditions, warning lights improve visibility for oncoming traffic, providing drivers with ample time to make necessary lane changes or slow down when approaching the plow.

These processes collectively contribute to better winter travel and increased vehicle safety on our highways.

The Don’ts of Highway Snowplow Safety

Distracted Driving

Operating heavy machinery like snowplows requires full attention and focus. When operators become distracted, whether it’s from using a phone, adjusting equipment, or any other reason, it poses a significant threat to everyone on the road.

The consequences of a momentary lapse in awareness while maneuvering these colossal vehicles could be catastrophic, underscoring the grave importance of maintaining undivided attention when getting behind the wheel of such heavy machinery to ensure the safety of all road users.

Driver Fatigue

Fatigue is another common concern for snowplow operators. Often working long and demanding hours, a snowplow operator is no stranger to exhaustion.

Over time this fatigue can impair an operator’s sense of judgement and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents. To combat this, it’s essential that all operators are encouraged to take regular breaks in between plowing snow.

By addressing fatigue and promoting safety measures, we can ensure an improved winter driving experience for all.

Snowplow Operator Overconfidence

In the world of highway snowplow safety, overconfidence is a noteworthy pitfall that must be avoided at all costs.

From overestimating your own abilities to having unwarranted faith in the equipment, it’s vital to recognize that regardless of how many years of experience you may demonstrate in the field, the snowplow industry in Canada is brimming with unexpected challenges and surprises.

To ensure safe operations, it’s imperative to err on the side of caution and not become too confident in your own abilities. The last thing you want is to become so comfortable that you start to display bad driving habits.

Ignoring Weather Conditions

Harsh winter weather conditions such as heavy snowfall, ice and low visibility demand a high level of vigilance and skill. Ignoring these factors can lead to accidents, reduced effectiveness in snow removal and even personal injuries.

It is crucial for snowplow operators to remain vigilant and adjust their driving strategies accordingly. Slowing down, maintaining a safe following distance and using the appropriate snow removal equipment are all essential measures that can make a significant impact on safety and efficiency. By heeding these precautions and staying vigilant, snowplow operators can ensure a safer and more effective snow removal process, reducing the risks associated with harsh winter weather.

Improper Blade Usage

Improper snowplow blade usage can lead to a multitude of issues during winter weather operations. One of the most common mistakes is not using the snowplow blade correctly.

Operators often underestimate the risks associated with raising the blade too high or pushing too much snow. Raising the blade too high can result in inadequate snow removal, leaving behind dangerous patches of ice and snow on the road.

On the other hand, pushing too much snow at once can overload the plow and make it less effective, putting unnecessary strain on the equipment and increasing the risk of accidents. Proper training and adherence to best practices are essential to ensure that snow plows maximize efficiency and vehicle safety on winter roads.

Neglecting Other Road Users

While operating snow removal equipment, it is crucial not to neglect the safety and well-being of other road users.

As a responsible snowplow operator, your duty extends beyond just clearing the roads; you must also consider the needs and safety of drivers and pedestrians sharing the same space.

This means taking extra precautions, such as being vigilant for approaching vehicles and pedestrians, using the appropriate warning lights, and avoiding sudden or hazardous maneuvers.

By keeping the welfare of others in mind, you can make winter roads safer for everyone and contribute to a more secure and efficient snow removal process.

Highway Snowplow Safety Challenges and Best Practices

Snow plows often confront a unique set of challenges, from enduring gruelling shifts during unpredictable weather conditions to maneuvering their vehicles on some of nature’s slipperiest surfaces. However, the underlying issue that ties all these challenges together is the critical need for improved visibility. Fortunately, there is a solution that addresses this concern – SWS’ Highway Snow Plow Packages.

These innovative packages are meticulously crafted by integrating traditional warning light enclosures into a customized communication platform. This ingenious communication system allows for various enclosures and colours to function in accordance with your specific legislation. The inclusion of quality sealed quick-change connectors, easy-to-use junction boxes and extension cables makes SWS Snow Plow Packages a comprehensive solution.

Notably, these packages have demonstrated their effectiveness in significantly reducing rear-end collisions involving snow plows, a concern that accounted for nearly 4 percent of all rear-end collisions on major highways in Ontario.

By enhancing visibility and vehicle safety, the SWS Snow Plow Packages play a pivotal role in easing the challenging tasks faced by highway snowplow operators.

The Most Important Do in Highway Snowplow Safety? Trust SWS’ Snow Plow Lighting

When it comes to the highway snowplow industry, one of the most crucial steps is ensuring that your snow plows are equipped with the right package. That’s where SWS comes in, offering a comprehensive range of highway snowplow packages designed to meet the diverse needs of different Canadian provinces. These packages are tailored to adhere to specific provincial legislation, making your choice easier and ensuring you’re always in compliance.

What sets SWS Warning Lights apart from its competitors, is our unwavering commitment to quality and innovation. These packages feature rugged and durable construction, combining aluminum and polycarbonate materials to withstand the harshest conditions. They not only meet the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) but also exceed the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) standards for beacons, mini lightbars and warning sticks.

Installation and modification are made effortless with their quick connection system, allowing for easy transition between winter and summer use. The inclusion of an automatic ambient light photosensor ensures that your lights adjust to nighttime conditions with a dim mode, enhancing safety and you guessed it – visibility.

Each package employs the latest generation of LEDs, eliminating the need for bulb replacements and minimizing the risk of any moving parts failing during critical operations. And if you don’t find the colour combination you’re looking for on our website, worry not, we offer other colour options to suit your preferences.

If you’re in search of the perfect snowplow package for your needs, reach out to SWS Warning Lights today. Our team can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed choice, ensuring your highway snowplow is equipped for the challenges of the road ahead.

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