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Give snowplow drivers room to do their work

It sounds like this might be the right week to be thankful for snowplow drivers, given the forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed today to be Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day, recognizing the many winter maintenance professionals who work long hours in tough conditions.

“Snowplow drivers spend countless hours away from their families so that we can all make it home safely to ours,” WisDOT Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson said. “Every clear winter road is a product of dedicated public servants who care deeply about safety in their communities. Their work helps to prevent crashes and save lives, and we can’t thank them enough.”

As part of a century-old partnership, WisDOT contracts with all 72 county highway departments for winter maintenance on more than 115,000 miles of state and local roads.

Before traveling, call 511 or go online to 511wi.gov to check on road conditions and possible incidents. Consider downloading the 511 Wisconsin smartphone app.

Other winter driving tips include:

— Buckle up, watch what’s happening ahead of you and allow plenty of following distance.

— Most traffic crashes in winter are caused by drivers going too fast for conditions. Posted speed limits apply when travel conditions are ideal. Drivers are advised to slow down when roads are slick or visibility is reduced.

— Stay at least 200 feet behind a working snowplow. Make sure that you can see the plow’s mirrors to ensure the driver can see you.

— If you must pass, be careful. Snowplows often create a cloud of snow that can obscure vision. Remember that road conditions in front of the plow likely will be worse.

— Don’t be over-confident if you operate a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle. They still require a considerable distance to stop on slick roadways.

— During major winter storms, postpone or cancel your trip. Stranded motorists and vehicles become hazards that interfere with snow removal efforts.

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