In part one of our two-part snow removal safety blog series, we provided safety tips for those who opt to remove snow with a snow blower as opposed to a shovel. In part two, we will offer safety tips to keep in mind if you operate a plow during the winter. Whether you plow for profit, clear your neighbors' driveways as a favor, or assume responsibility for snow removal at your home or office, it’s crucial to keep safety in mind. Use the following snow plow safety tips to help prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries this winter.
Snow Plow Safety
Before You Begin
Plowing in the winter is essential to businesses, as snow buildup can present a hazard to both drivers and pedestrians, but when using a truck-mounted plow to clear snow, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and never sacrifice safety for speed. You can prevent accidents and other issues by taking the following precautions before you begin plowing:
- Before the first snowfall, check out the areas you will be plowing. Look for objects that could be easily hidden by snow. Make notes of things like curbs, speed bumps and other things that could damage a plow.
- Before using the plow for the first time, familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual.
- Check all lights to make sure they are working properly. This includes both the lights on the vehicle and the lights on the blade.
- For good traction, make sure the truck’s weight is balanced. If necessary, add weight to the back of the truck, past the real axel, to balance out the weight of the plow.
- Check all connections between the truck and plow.
- Check the plow itself for any signs of damage, such as cracked welds or hydraulic fuel leaks.
- Check the cutting edge to make sure it is not worn down to the point where the ground may come in contact with the main portion of the blade.
- Get adequate rest so you are not drowsy or inattentive while behind the wheel.
Snow Plow Safety Tips for Transporting a Plow
While driving on public roads with a plow attached to your vehicle, remember to:
- Keep the plow as far off the ground as possible without blocking the headlights or your vision.
- Always drive with the blade angled to the right. This will prevent it from accidentally catching on the curb.
- Not drive faster than 40 miles per hour.
Just as it’s important to take certain precautions before plowing, you should also keep the following snow plow safety tips in mind while operating a plow:
- When beginning a pass, always start moving and then drop the blade.
- Begin to stop as you approach the end of your pass. Do not let the plow slam full speed into already piled snow.
- Raise the blade before moving into position to make another pass.
- Always wear your seatbelt no matter where you are plowing. Hidden objects could cause your vehicle to stop suddenly.
- Always turn around and look while driving in reverse. Do not rely on vehicle mirrors alone.
- Make sure you know where you are going to pile the snow before you start.
- Never pile snow near mailboxes, fire hydrants, electrical boxes or dumpsters.
- If there is traffic in the area, be especially careful of people and other vehicles.
- Check with local regulations before moving snow across a roadway. It may be illegal to do so in some areas.
Snow Plow Insurance – Is Your Plowing Operation Covered?
In the interest of protection, if you plow snow for others, another safety tip is to ensure that your plowing operation is covered. If snow plowing for profit, you should have a commercial policy that covers you for the complete snow plowing operation, as a personal auto insurance policy typically does not include “for profit” snow plowing activity. In terms of coverage, there are two aspects to consider: protection against damage to the snow plow equipment or truck, and liability associated with damage caused by the snow plowing activity.
At Eaton & Berube, your safety is our top priority. We will help you ensure that your snow plow operation remains safe and adequately insured. To obtain a free quote for snow plow insurance, please submit our online insurance quote request form.
Snow Removal Safety Part 1: Snow Blower Safety Tips