It looks like we have a winter storm headed our way — with that in mind, we thought we’d share some safety reminders about safely playing outdoors when plows are on the streets, tips for youth who may be new to driving in winter conditions when plows are on the road and safety reminders for operating snowblowers.

Playing Outdoors

Most children love playing outdoors during a heavy snowfall — but please caution children to stay at least 10 feet away from the road when playing. Roads are slippery and if a car leaves the road, you want your children to be a safe distance away. In addition, it is difficult for plow operators to see or hear children and the plows can throw large amounts of heavy snow into your yard and driveway — therefore, children should not build snow forts or play near the road.

Driving When Snowplows Are on the Road

It’s important to remind young drivers that snowplows are very large and heavy (they usually weigh in excess of 10 tons) — they cannot stop quickly, so drivers should allow for a safe distance when pulling out in front of a plow. In addition, plows drive slower and stop more often than other vehicles — so be certain to slow down if a plow is in front of you, stay behind at a safe distance and be prepared to stop. If you are behind a plow, be aware that rock salt may hit your car and that the plows usually generate a snow cloud that can make it difficult to see. If you cannot see the plow’s side mirrors, then the driver cannot see you — keep that in mind when driving.

Snowblower Safety

Every year, people suffer serious injuries because they try to unclog their snowblower. Never try to unclog the machine with your hands — the blades of the machine can still rotate when the machine is off. If you need to unclog your snowblower, turn it off, disengage the clutch, wait at least 5 seconds to allow the blades to stop moving and use a stick or broom to clear the snow. Do not remove any safety shields or devices from the machine — they are there for a very good reason.

Stay safe and enjoy the snow!