The official start of winter may be months away but in Ohio their road crews are ready to take on the snow.
We’re here for our annual readiness event, where we inspect all trucks that we’re going to be using this winter to keep the roads clear,” said Amanda Lee, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Transportation. “They check the tires, the plows the hoses, the lights, the salt spinners, you name it. Everything gets checked to make sure that it’s in tip-top shape for when that first snowflake flies.”
And this year they're adding a new wrinkle. Ohio is the first state in the nation to use green strobe lights on snow plows.
To make things a little easier for everyone this year, Lee said the trucks are now being retrofitted with green strobe lights so everyone can see the cleanup crews.
“Safety is really important,” said ODOT driver Tony Teresi, who showed off 97 trucks armed with snow plows last week. “These guys weigh 3,000 pounds. Some of them are 12-footers, some of them are 11-footers, and it’s hard to deal with in the lanes.”
Everyday drivers, too, pose a problem for the cleanup crews.
“Hopefully, when there’s white-out conditions, that green will still stick out,” Lee said. “Studies show that green is very perceptive to peoples’ eyes, so we’re hoping it will curb those rear-end collisions.”
ODOT says that about one-third of the fleet will have green lights by the end of the year and it plans to have the rest of the trucks retrofitted for new lights by the end of winter. Lee said Ohio is among the worst states for collisions with snow plows.
ODOT is making considerable effort with the strobe lights and educating their drivers and the public too. So as the snow begins to fall, keep an eye out for that green light and remember to slow down!