Snowplows don’t hit highway speeds during storms, but the safest place to be is behind them

Snowplow lights
Snowplow lights(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 3:33 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Although Rapid City hasn’t seen much snow yet this winter season, it could happen at some point.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation is acknowledging they’re not the only highway safety crews on the road anymore.

Mike Carlson, Rapid City Area Engineer with the South Dakota Department of Transportation, says their snowplows used to be the only ones on the road with amber and white flashing lights.

However, he says now there’s lot of vehicles with the same or similar colors that are traveling at highway speeds.

Since their crews are operating computer equipment and large snowplows simultaneously, he says they can be slightly distracted.

He says it’s much safer to assume that vehicle with flashing lights coming up is going slower to avoid dangerous collisions.

”It used to be [that] we’re the only ones out there with amber flashing lights. [Now] There’s a lot of other vehicles out there, and those other vehicles sometimes are traveling at highway speeds. We are not. So, if you see flashing lights during an active storm, assume it’s a DOT snowplow, and that they’re driving 30-miles-per-hour.”

Carlson says some of their newer trucks are now equipped with blue lights, and would like to remind people the roads behind a snowplow and far safer than those in front of it.

He encourages staying behind them to avoid injuries and crashes.

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