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Information Bulletin - Snowplows Dec-07

December 6, 2007

Keep well back from the snowplow’s track

Edmonton…With 32,000 kilometres of provincial highways, the presence of snowplows are a fact that Alberta drivers have to contend with during winter. Sharing the road with snowplows can create special challenges for motorists.

To ensure road safety, snowplows are on Alberta's highways when as little as two centimetres of snow are on the road. You can be better prepared by following a few simple tips when you encounter a snowplow.

  • Slow down and keep to the right. Snowplows in residential areas move at much slower speeds than other vehicles. On the highway, snowplows may travel as much as 70 km/hr. Operators also stop frequently to clean off their lights.
  • Don't pass on the right hand side on undivided highways. Snow and debris exit the plow on the right and pose a severe hazard.
  • Be cautious when approaching a snowplow from behind - plows may cause snow clouds that reduce visibility.
  • Watch for the flashing amber lights on the back of these vehicles. These lights send a very intense, narrow band of light behind the snowplow that makes it more visible to other drivers..
  • Stay well back until the snowplow operator can safely pull over to let you pass. They will pull over about every eight 8 to 12 kilometres and will turn off the sand for vehicles passing whenever possible.

Did you know...?

  • Alberta spends approximately $75 million on snow and ice control each winter.
  • There are 32,000 kilometres of highway in the province with 28,400 of it paved.
  • The province uses 520,000 tons of sand and 150,000 tons of salt to maintain Alberta's highways.
  • There are more than 540 snowplows stationed in approximately 100 maintenance shops across the province.

Improving traffic safety is part of Premier Ed Stelmach’s plan to secure Alberta’s future by building communities, greening our growth and creating opportunity.

For more information about traffic safety, contact the Office of Traffic Safety at (780) 422-8839 or visit http://www.saferoads.com/.

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Media enquiries may be directed to:

Liz Owens
Office of Traffic Safety
Alberta Transportation


To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.