Agency RSS

Blue Lights Being Added to Snowplow Fleet

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Contact: Kristi Sandal, Public Information Officer, 605-773-7179


PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Transportation is improving safety for motorists and snowplow drivers by adding flashing blue lights to the snowplow fleet across the state.


The pilot program will include 25 trucks equipped with the flashing blue lights spread out across the state.


“Snowplow drivers provide an essential service to our communities,” says Interim Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt. “The blue lights will add more visibility to our snowplow fleet to ensure they can continue to clear roads and keep drivers safe.”


Studies have shown people have become desensitized to the flashing amber lights. The blue lights have greater visibility in certain situations and because they have a higher frequency and shorter wavelength of light, they appear to be moving closer rather than farther away giving drivers a chance to react more quickly.


The most common crash statistic for snowplows is being hit from behind. Snowplows, when the blades are down, are travelling at 25 mph or less. Motorists are asked to slow down and stay eight car lengths behind the plow and to never pass one in a snow cloud. Remember, the snowplow driver is clearing the road ahead, so the safest place is behind the plow.


When a snowplow is involved in a crash that disables the snowplow, the plow and the driver are removed from service and the road he was working on is no longer getting cleared for possibly several more hours.


“Keeping drivers, workers, and emergency personnel safe is the department’s number one priority,” says Jundt. “We appreciate Gov. Kristi Noem and the state’s Legislature for working with us and adding new safety provisions to strengthen the current law and keep us on the road.”


Remember to check https://sd511.org, download the SDDOT 511 app, or call 5-1-1 before travelling, buckle up, have your winter emergency kit, and stay where you are if we are advising no travel.


The mission of the South Dakota Department of Transportation is to efficiently provide a safe and effective public transportation system. Read more about the innovative work of the SDDOT at https://dot.sd.gov.  


- DOT -