High-Tech Snow Plow Training

While there's still a very slim chance of having a white Christmas, TxDOT is making sure snow plow drivers are ready, just in case. This class covered everything from how to handle icy roads to how to be a defensive driver. And everyone from seasoned pros to rookies took part.

At first glance you might think it's the latest game for your Wii or X-Box. But, think again. It's actually a video-simulation of roads covered in ice and snow. 66 snow plow drivers from Amarillo and Childress took part in the training so they can learn how to deal with the condition that lay ahead for them in inclement weather.

TxDOT is renting the simulation machines for a short time at a cost of $300 per driver for a total of around $20,000. If they were to buy the machine, it would cost upwards of $200,000.

This is the first time TxDOT has conducted this type of training. Snow plow safety isn't only important for those driving the plow - there are things you, as a driver, need to keep in mind as well. TxDot recommends these safety tips in their "Don't Crowd the Plow" campaign.

  • Drive slower and increase your following distance.
  • Never use cruise control in winter driving conditions
  • Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle. Be sure you have non-freezing windshield washer liquid and that your headlights and taillights are visible.
  • See that your vehicle is properly maintained.
  • Use snow tires and/or chains.
  • Start slowly. Gentle braking in slow, steady strokes helps you find out how much traction you have.
  • Begin braking early when you come to an intersection or a stop.
  • Approach bridges, shaded spots, overpasses and turns slowly.

If you have any questions about winter driving or snow plow safety, you can contact the Texas Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-452-9292 or visit www.dot.state.tx.us.