PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – The South Dakota Department of Transportation has added flashing blue lights to 25 of its snowplows.
Interim Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt says the blue lights will add more visibility to ensure plows can clear roads while also improving safety for motorists and snowplow drivers. He says when the blades are down, snowplows are traveling at 25 mph or less and the most common crash statistic for snowplows is being hit from behind.
Jundt says motorists are asked to slow down, stay eight car lengths behind the plow and never pass one in a snow cloud. He says the snowplow driver is clearing the road ahead, so the safest place is behind the plow. When a snowplow is disabled because of a crash, the plow and the driver are removed from service and the road being worked on may not be cleared for several more hours.
Studies have shown people have become desensitized to the flashing amber lights. The blue lights have greater visibility in certain situations and because they have a higher frequency and shorter wavelength of light, they appear to be moving closer rather than farther away giving drivers a chance to react more quickly.
Jundt says before traveling, buckle up, have your winter emergency kit, and stay where you are if we are advising no travel. For updated road condition information from the SDDOT go to the new sd511.org, download the SDDOT 511 app or call 5-1-1.