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Motorists are being urged to use patience as they encounter snowplows and graders cleaning up after this weekend's snowfall.

"First of all, everybody needs to use extreme caution when they're out there," said Mark Allard, Executive Director of Regional Operations for Manitoba Infrastructure. He notes it is especially important when coming up behind a plow truck on the highway, as the machine can create a trail of swirling snow and reduce visibility often to the point of white-out conditions.

"I think a good rule is, if you can't see the mirror on the driver's side because of the snow it is likely that driver can't see you in behind him," said Allard. snow clearingSmiley says caution and patience is also required when encountering equipment on rural roads. File photo.

He added it is critical to never pass a plow truck on the highway, saying patience is key in allowing operators to safely do their job and notes they will frequently pull over to allow traffic to pass.

Allard explains there are often times where pilot trucks are following multiple snow plows down a highway, covering the entire width of the road. "So once you get past the pilot truck you'd certainly be encountering the back-end of a plow."

He says it is also not a good idea to pass a snow plow on the right-hand side, explaining there is usually a wing of the blade that hangs over the shoulder that pushes snow into the ditch.

But what if you encounter an on-coming machine?

Allard says it is well advised to reduce your speed until both vehicles have gone past each other. "There may be a need where they encroach the centre line to make sure they're getting the majority of the snow off the roadway."

Craig Smiley, Public Works Director for the Municipality of Rhineland, joins Allard in urging motorists to use patience and caution when encountering snow clearing equipment on rural roads.

He explains if you see an oncoming machine, to stop at an intersection and wait for it to come through before proceeding.

Smiley also asks that motorists not pass a plow or grader until it is safe to do so at an intersection or wherever there's enough room in order avoid any dangers.

"Any little bump or drift can kick a machine over and it can be into a car just like that," he said. "There are rocks flying constantly, (and) you never know what might fall off the plow because it's cold out and things break."

Smiley requests motorists use the same patience for crews working to clear town or village streets, saying they can get their work done a lot faster if everyone takes their time and makes room.

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