Winter Driving: Be Prepared!
Every year Minnesotans are faced with winter road conditions that put thousands of motorists into danger situations. Blowing snow, sleet and black ice can quickly turn Minnesota’s beautiful scenery into a nightmarish crash.
We need to be prepared for these conditions and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) can help. Visit their website at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/ to find information on construction news, traffic conditions, weather conditions and safety tips. Remember the following tips while driving behind a snowplow:
• Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
• Turn off your cruise control.
• Slow down; allow at least five car lengths between your vehicle and a plow.
• Stay behind the snowplow. The road behind a snowplow is safer to drive on.
• Watch for snowplows that turn or exit frequently, often with little warning.
• Never drive into a snow cloud.
• Call 511 or visit www.511mn.org before leaving on your trip to get current road conditions information.
In order to keep our roads safe, we need to allow plows to do their jobs. Having cars in the street makes it impossible for the plows to clear some areas, so the cities are forced to remove them. Know your city’s snow removal plan. It can save you and the plows a headache next time it snows. Visit the following websites for more information:
• Maplewood- Go to http://www.ci.maplewood.mn.us. Under the “Departments” tap, go to “Public Works,” then “Streets” and finally “Snow and Ice Removal”.
• North Saint Paul- Go to http://www.ci.north-saint-paul.mn.us/ When there, search for “winter parking” in their search bar (bottom left). Then click on the “winter parking regulations” link.
• Oakdale- Go to http://www.ci.oakdale.mn.us/ When there, search for “winter parking” in their search bar. Then click on the “FAQ – Public Work” link.
• For other communities, visit your city’s website for their local information.
Finally, please listen to Mn/DOT’s motto, “Stay Back Stay Alive”. We need to assume that plow drivers cannot see us. Stay back a safe distance so you have time to react to the traffic in front of you. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so stay off your phone, tune your radio when you are stopped at a stoplight, and above all pay attention.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.