Don’t crowd the plows, road commissions say

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 7, 2017

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METRO DETROIT — Snow has already fallen on parts of Michigan, and local road crews are getting ready to salt the roads and clear them once significant accumulation arrives.

And when they do, they want other motorists to be cautious and courteous, especially when driving near plows and salt trucks.

Road Commission for Oakland County spokesman Craig Bryson cautioned people to slow down when the weather turns snowy or icy. He said it’s better to arrive somewhere late and alive than rush and wind up in danger.

“First and foremost, slow down when there are any chances of slippery conditions,” he said. “That seems obvious, but as most drivers will testify though, there are just some people who refuse to slow down. … Watch for hills and curves in particular when there is snow and ice. That can be most treacherous.” 

In addition, Bryson asked winter drivers to increase the space between their vehicles and others when roads are slippery, due to the increase in time it takes to come to a complete stop. 

Drivers should also be courteous around plows and salt trucks, he explained.

“Please don’t crowd the plow,” he said. “Give them the room they need to do their job. Recognize it’s a multiton truck. It takes lot of time and space to plow.”

He added that the RCOC’s plows have a 10- to 12-foot-long plow on the right side that can extend to clear a second lane or shoulder. This can make passing a plow on the right dangerous, he added.

“They run into the side plow, and that’s not a good situation,” he said. 

Leo Ciavatta, maintenance superintendent at the Macomb County Department of Roads, agreed that motorists should slow down in bad weather and give the salt trucks and plows a reasonably wide berth. He said commuters should schedule their drives to expect a normal 10-minute commute to take 20 or 30 minutes in bad weather. 

“Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions, so you’re probably going to have to keep your speed down as well,” he explained.

Find out more about the Road Commission for Oakland County by visiting or by calling (248) 645-2000. For the Macomb County Department of Roads, visit or call (586) 463-8671.