While the Christmas season is a special time of year filled with surprises, Highways and Infrastructure is reminding drivers not to be caught off guard by the plows on the road. Two snowplows were rear-ended on Saskatchewan highways December 18 and while no serious injuries resulted, the ministry’s wish list includes ensuring everyone gets home safely.
“The holidays are meant to be spent with family and friends,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris said. “Please be extra cautious if you come up behind a plow as the mini blizzard they create can cause a blinding effect for motorists.”
The two collisions on December 18, one on Hwy 10 near Fort Qu’Appelle and the other on Hwy 1 near Moosomin, both involved vehicles driving into the back of plows. This brings the number of collisions involving plows to 16 over the last two years.
Please watch for the checkerboards on the back of the truck boxes and the bright wig-wag lights mounted on the corners of the trucks. Plows pull over about every 10 kilometres so drives can pass and passing is only permitted if the plow is going 60 km/hr or under.
“With a fleet of 300 snowplows throughout the province, our staff is ready to go before, during and after a storm, and they report road conditions to the Highway Hotline at last three times per day or as conditions change,” McMorris said.
Saskatchewan’s highways are cleared on a priority system based on population centres and traffic volumes:
Level 1 – Goal is to clear within six hours of a storm’s end. These are major inter-provincial and commuter routes that connect communities with a population of 3,000 or more and have a daily traffic count of 1,500 vehicles or more;
Level 2 – Goal is to clear within 12 hours of a storm’s end. These routes have a daily traffic count between 300 and 1,500 vehicles; and
Level 3 – Goal is to clear within 24 hours of a storm’s end. These are all other highways with a traffic count of 300 vehicles or less.
Motorists are reminded to "know before you go" by checking the Highway Hotline for road conditions. Go to www.highways.gov.sk.ca and click on the Highway Hotline button to check map and text reports, access a mobile website, sign up for Twitter notices or check out the Facebook page. Callers can also dial 1-888-335-7623 toll-free across Canada.