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Living in a place where it snows can create significant safety hazards on the road and even make them impassable. These conditions are hazardous and can even be fatal if motorists try to make their daily commute before the roads are plowed. Elite drivers risk their lives all Winter to ensure that vehicles can safely make their way to and from their destination when it snows.
Your local snowplow driver is a hero of Winter survival in climates where snow creates extreme safety hazards. Often equipped with their personal truck, plow attachment, and LED light bar equipment, they brave the storm so that you can safely make it to and from work.
With their visibility shot, hands freezing, and body aching, snowplow drivers, are what keep small Winter towns in motion. They’re out there, but what do we really know about our local snow plow drivers.
What is Required to Plow Snow?
Plowing snow is a rigorous task that involves strength, mental acuity, and the ability to stay awake and alert for long periods of time. While these are not the legal requirements to plow snow, without these attributes, you will not be able to safely complete the already dangerous task.
So, what are the requirements?
First and foremost, make sure that you are covered. Plowing snow is a dangerous job, and due to the lack of visibility, accidents can and will happen. Reduce your financial burden by insuring yourself with the best policy possible. Make sure you contact your insurance company to make sure that your plow attachment is covered before you decide to be a good neighbor and plow your local community.
Lighting is one of the most crucial elements to your snow plow. LEDs have mostly replaced the incandescent bulbs used in emergency vehicle lighting. Since snow picks up and creates a cloud around your plow, you need to install adequate lighting around the entire vehicle to ensure others on the road know your position. Your LED headlamps are completely obstructed behind the plow itself, so some states require an LED headlight attachment directly on the plow itself. On top of that, you will install snow plow warning lights directly on top of your vehicle to alert other motorists of your presence. Making sure that your vehicle has adequate snow plow LED warning lights and right flash pattern can prevent damage and save lives.
It is crucial to ensure that your snow plow vehicle is fully stocked with all the necessary safety equipment. This includes but is not limited to cones, triangles, reflective vests, gloves, hard hats, flares, flashlights, first aid kit, flags, and other equipment that will keep you safe on the road. Proper PPE, along with adequate safety equipment, will keep you alive during the winter months.
Fully Operational Vehicle
Calling a tow truck to pick up a downed snow plow is not ideal and downright dangerous. If your plow truck loses power in the middle of work, you can be stranded for a significant amount of time, which can possibly be fatal. Make sure that your LED light bar is fully functional, your flashing lights work, each signal light is functioning, and your strobe light is operational. This will help other drivers be able to locate you in the event of an emergency. You don’t want to get to the point where your LED light is necessary to find you, so make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. Check your battery, mirrors, tires, fluids, lightbar, and anything that can impact the way your plow vehicle operates. Taking these safety measures can prevent fatalities on the road.
Some states do not require any formal licensing or endorsement in order to legally operate a snow plow. All you need is a valid driver’s license and a “go get ’em” attitude to make it happen. This is not the case everywhere. It is very common for states to require a CDL in order to legally operate a snow plow. This might have something to do with whether or not you are using your own vehicle with a plow attachment or are operating a large commercial plow. Check with your local state law enforcement before picking up your attachment. Your good Samaritan attitude doesn’t have to result in hefty fines and a suspended license.
Experience and Focus
This is not a law, but it is strongly recommended. Snow plow drivers tend to work extreme hours in extreme conditions. Hopping in your truck to assist your community is commendable, but if you don’t know what you’re doing or cannot handle yourself on the road, you become a more significant hazard than the snow itself. Know your limitations. Stop when you’re tired. Be responsible.
These may or may not be the only requirement to plow snow in your community. Check with your local law enforcement and DOT site for local guidelines and regulations. Stay safe and alert when on the road.
Optimum LED Lights for Snow Plows
While many states do not have explicit laws stating the types of LED lights necessary to operate in your community, safety is still a top priority. Check with your department of transportation if a mixture of green lights and amber is required for snow plow operations (especially Ohio). The ability to identify a snow plow when it is operating is a must.
Here are a few of the best LED lights and LED light bar attachments for your snow plow light needs.
LED Mini Light Bar
These LED light bars are bright and visible through snow and can be seen from far distances. It creates a safe environment for you and everyone else on the road. They are perfect for attaching to your personal SUV or truck when plowing for your community. They are small, removable, and easy to install when there is a need. They will often come with a magnetic mount for easy to install and remove purposes. For the sake of plowing snow, a magnetic mount is likely not the way to go. The wet atmosphere can interfere and may cause the warning light to slip. However, some magnetic mounts are powerful enough to stick in these conditions. Because you’re driving slow, you shouldn’t have to worry about it flying off. Choose the LED mini light bar installation method that you are most comfortable with.
Full-Size LED Light Bar
These permanently mounted LED light bars are more intended for vehicles dedicated to working. They are large, bright, capable of changing colors and light patterns to make sure other vehicles can see you from far off. The full-size LED light bar provides maximum visibility for your snow plow needs creating a safer environment for you and those around you.
LED Work Lights
Flood lights are an absolute must for every snow plow. With the visibility already dangerously low, shining a light where you are plowing reduces the risk of damage and or injury. These powerful LED lights allow you to work safely and more efficiently while avoiding curbs and islands.
Heated LED Light Bars
With LED light bars using less power than older light fixtures, they produce less heat. Utilizing a LED light bar with a heated lens will prevent snow from caking on the light bar. It will melt away any obstructions and allow the light to continue to shine through and create a safe environment for everyone. Visibility is the most critical safety factor when operating a snow plow.
With the intended purpose for snow plow lighting to be both for driver visibility and to be visible on the road, the more lighting, the better. Opting for LED lights will create a safer, brighter road where everyone makes it home.
Beacons and Strobes
Check your local statutes to cross-check if a beacon or amber strobe lights are required when you are operating your plow. There are many LED beacon light options – ensure that your LED lighting has a low amp draw.
Things Snow Plow Drivers Want You to Know
Driving a Snow Plow is Dangerous. Here are some words from the professionals that they wish you to know before Winter comes this year.
Do Not Pass
When plowing, the driver will move around the entire road to avoid obstruction and properly plow. Make sure to pass only when they are not actively plowing to avoid a collision.
Those LED and headlamp high beam lights might be blinding, but without them, operators cannot see to do the job well. Stay as far back or avoid staring into the beam as best as possible to avoid the plow light glare from getting in your eyes while also remaining in the driver’s line of sight. Be careful and drive slowly in the snow.
Plowing snow is a slow activity. It requires finesse and safety that cannot happen when driving at rapid speeds. Please be patient with your snow plow driver as they are simply trying to make sure that the roads are safe for you and everyone else. Aggressively passing on either side will result in potential collision and injury. Leave your road rage at home.
Safe Snow Operations
When purchasing LED snow plow lights for your emergency vehicle, consider safety above all else. Having the proper LED warning lights can save lives and time as your driver will have the clarity necessary to do the job correctly the first time without incident. Don’t skimp on your snow plow lighting needs.
Consult with Brooking – your emergency vehicle lighting professionals – who can make sure you obtain the right snow plow LED warning lights affordably.