January 05, 2022
What our snow plow operators want motorists to know
Oxford County issues reminder about winter driving safety
This winter, Public Works crews in Oxford County will be salting, sanding, and plowing to keep our roads safe for driving. With snow mixed with high winds in the forecast for Oxford County Public Works is reminding drivers to slow down and give our snow plow operators space to work.
County crews clear snow on 57 different roads, spanning about 1,185 lane kilometres. Stretched out, those lanes would be about the distance from Woodstock to Quebec City – or a 10-hour trip at 80 km/hr.
County snow plows typically travel below the posted speed limit, as lower operating speeds are more effective for clearing roads, applying salt and, if conditions are desirable, anti-icing liquid.
Crowding, tailgating or passing a snow plow can be very dangerous. A fully loaded plow truck cannot maneuver easily or stop quickly and it has many blind spots. Don’t assume a snow plow operator can see you, especially if you are driving too close and visibility is poor, which is often the case.
Passing a snow plow is never a good idea. Although they move slowly, the road behind an active plow is always safer than the road ahead. A good rule of thumb is to allow 10 car lengths between you and the plow since plowing creates a cloud of snow, which can decrease visibility and simulate whiteout conditions.
Pedestrians who see a snow plow should step away from the street, and children should never play near roadways. Building snow forts in freshly piled snow is extremely unsafe. Snow plow operators often clear the same routes more than once and will have difficulty seeing children if they are playing behind or under a pile of snow.
Oxford County snow plows work during the winter to keep the County’s major roadways clear and safe for travel, along with our municipal partners who are responsible for secondary roads and residential streets. All snow plow operators have an important job to do. If you encounter a snow plow, slow down, be patient and stay back. Snow plow operators are working hard so everyone can travel safely.
Other winter driving safety tips include:
- Turn on your headlights and tail lights, even during the day.
- Use winter-rated snow tires with the mountain-snowflake symbol.
- Pull as far over to the right as is safe when you see a snow plow approaching from the opposite direction.
- Adjust your speed for road conditions and schedule extra time for winter travel.
- Assume that bridges are slippery since they freeze more quickly than road surfaces.
- Keep your fuel tank at least half full to help reduce moisture in the fuel system and add weight to the vehicle.
- Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle, including a blanket, extra warm clothing, a flashlight, shovel, non-perishable food, and water.
Frank Gross, Manager of Transportation and Waste, Oxford County
“Plow operators often encounter drivers that are impatient or pass them at high speeds. They have an important job to do, often working long hours in poor driving conditions. If you’re driving behind a snow plow, stay back, be patient and don’t try to pass. Roads are plowed in sections, so you usually won’t be stuck behind a plow for more than 20-30 minutes.”
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About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403, Oxford County has a population of approximately 119,000 people across eight area municipalities that are “growing stronger together.” As a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government, Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy, becoming a zero waste community, and working towards zero poverty. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture is a key industry that serves as a springboard for some of the sustainable industries that are steadily diversifying the local economy. Oxford County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock, Ontario. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social. Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.