The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has a message for drivers this snowy season: “Don’t Crowd the Plow.”
The agency’s safety campaign, launched Wednesday, will feature messages on over 60 billboards and 80 electronic signs across the Commonwealth to encourage drivers to exercise caution while navigating roadways near the heavy snow-removal equipment.
This season alone, eight snowplows or spreader trucks already have been struck by other vehicles, MassDOT said.
“This can be a dangerous situation that threatens the safety of motorists as well as our MassDOT crews and contractors,” Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin said in a statement.
The agency cautioned that the equipment weights nearly 20 times that of a normal car, presenting a dangerous situation for drivers who get too close.
“When road conditions are poor, and when plows are working, it is especially important that drivers pay attention,” Jeff Larason, director of the Executive Office of Safety and Security, said in a statement. “Snow plows have a job to do and they need room to do it. Put the phone down, slow down, wear your seatbelt and be patient.”
MassDOT also encouraged drivers to lower their speed during bad weather and minimize distractions.
“Travelers should recognize that the road conditions behind a plow are far better than the conditions in front of it, and they should avoid speeding up and passing snowplows,” Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said.
Drivers should also remember in snowy weather to clear ice from their vehicles and leave plenty of room for stopping, MassDOT said.
The agency cautioned that speed limits are made with dry weather, and not snow or ice, in mind.
Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana