KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri Department of Transportation employees are working around the clock to make the roads more safe for travelers.
MoDOT crews have been out since Sunday morning pretreating and clearing roads with little down time in between storm systems.
“The main job is that we’re making sure that we treat the roads because when it rains, it freezes" said Stephen Butler, MoDOT maintenance superintendent for Jackson County, "and when it freezes, that’s when it gets bad."
Road maintenance technicians said there’s a science behind treating the roads. The type of solution they use depends on the type of precipitation we get and the temperature of the road.
And although they can usually plan for bad weather, they can’t prepare for how drivers will behave when traveling along side big plow trucks.
“You’ve got people that will come up on your side when there’s no room for them to go, and they’re just asking for an accident,” said Randy Burroughs, crew leader for MoDOT’s Lee’s Summit facility.
Burroughs said people driving too fast is one of the main concerns.
With all of the different types of trucks used to treat the roads and the different attachments, it’s better to err on the side of caution and give trucks more room than you think they need.
“If (drivers) hit a slick spot and slam into me, then the other traffic that’s back behind me -- it’s just going to be a chain reaction,” Burroughs said.
With another storm expected to roll through this weekend, you’ll likely be seeing these big vehicles on the road for at least the next few days.
MoDOT supervisors are making a plea for safety, so everyone can get through this storm safely.
“We’re trying to help the public," Butler said. "We’re trying to get everybody home safe. We encourage everybody to give us enough safe room, distance when we’re working."
Here are a few important things to know when sharing the road with plows:
- Give snowplows room to work; don’t tailgate or try to pass.
- A “strike team” may include several plow trucks -- some with tow plows and wing plows -- and block all lanes on a major highway.
- Stay at least four car lengths back from snowplows and equipment.
- Plowed snow can create a cloud that can blind drivers following too close.
- Spreaders on trucks can throw salt, sand or cinders that can damage close-following vehicles.
- Salt-brine trucks have a sign on the back warning motorist to “Liquid Salt, Stay Back.” That is for your safety as well as the drivers. They can’t see you and the brine sprays across three traffic lanes whether you are driving in them or not.
- Plow truck operators have to focus on snow removal and can't always watch out for the drivers surrounding them, which means they may not see you if you try to pass or even collide with MoDOT equipment.
- Drive even slower in construction zones, even though they are inactive in winter weather.
- Always have your headlights on, plenty of fuel and wiper fluid and tires with ample tread.