Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed Monday, November 19 as Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day in Wisconsin to acknowledge "their steadfast efforts to make roadways safer and keep traffic moving before, during and after winter storms" according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
The proclamation also encourages motorists to exercise caution whenever they encounter snowplows and to limit their driving during severe storms to avoid becoming stuck or stalled in their vehicle, which slows down snow removal efforts.
Public Works Director for Muskego, Dave Simpson, said the city is responsible for clearing 147 miles of roadway, and that's not including those roadways that the county or state take care of. So, Janesville Road, Racine Avenue and Highways 45 and 36 have their own crews.
Last year's warm and dry weather meant less salt was used on the roadways, but in general the city stores 2,000 tons of salt in its two sheds at the Department of Public Works.
Muskego's fleet of plows resides with the DPW on Mercury Dr., and their office is open to field your praise or complaints Monday through Friday 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Got questions on plowing operations? Call (262) 679-4128. If they don't answer, you may leave a message and they will return your call as soon as possible, or contact City Hall between 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at (262) 679-4100. After hours, the Muskego Police Department non-emergency line is your other option, 262-679-4130.
"Removing snow and ice from more than 100,000 miles of roads and streets in Wisconsin is a tremendous challenge performed primarily by county and municipal highway departments," said WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb.
"Snowplow drivers frequently work extremely long hours during the worst imaginable weather conditions to make roadways safer and keep traffic flowing as efficiently as possible," he said. "Their knowledge, experience and dedication help all of us travel to our jobs, farms, schools, retail stores, medical services and recreational destinations while also maintaining the delivery of goods and services to support our state's businesses and industries. They do their jobs, so we should do our part."
WisDOT offers these safety tips for driving during winter weather:
- Before traveling, call 511 or go online to Wisconsin 511 (www.511wi.gov/) to check road conditions.
- If there’s ice and snow, take it slow. The posted speed limits are based on dry pavement. Those speed limits may be hazardous when roads are slick or visibility is poor. Most traffic crashes in winter are caused by driving too fast for conditions.
- State law requires that you stay at least 200 feet behind a working snowplow. When you’re following a snowplow, make sure that you can see the driver’s mirrors to ensure the driver is able to see you. You never know when a snowplow driver may have to back up.
- If you have to pass a working snowplow, be careful. The snowplow can create a cloud of snow that could obscure your vision. Also, remember that the roadway behind the snowplow is in better condition than the roadway in front of it.
- And always buckle up, pay attention to traffic and road conditions, slowdown and drive sober to help reduce the number of preventable traffic deaths to "Zero in Wisconsin."