The Minnesota Department of Transportation's (MnDOT) Safety Innovation Team is introducing an LED lighted plow marker for winter maintenance activities in the state in order to reduce the number of motorist collisions with the department's snowplows.
In the winter of 2017-18, there were 84 collisions involving drivers and MnDOT plows, a substantial increase over the 55 crashes reported the winter before and the most in the past four winters.
The markers that attach to the plows are filled with LED rope lights and are mounted to the outer edges of the plow's blades. The objective is that the the blade edges will be more visible to motorists in low-visibility weather conditions, ensuring that drivers will be less likely to hit the blades as the maintenance vehicles clear the roads. The markers could be particularly helpful for highlighting the wing blades on the sides of plows that often are used for clearing snow from shoulders and turn lanes and are difficult for motorists to see at night.
As plows often accumulate large clouds of snow and obscure vision for motorists and plow drivers, visibility of the plows’ strobe lights can be obscured. But the team at MnDOT told local sources that the flexible markers that glow orange are very bright, and drivers can see them from up to a half-mile away, even in poor visibility. Additionally, the markers also help plow operators see the edge of the blade, making it easier to avoid any number of roadside obstacles as they clear snow.
Each plow marker costs about $30 to make and are being tested on about 20 vehicles in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. If proven to be effective, the department indicated the markers could be installed on all 237 MnDOT plows in the Twin Cities region and eventually on plows statewide.
Source: Star Tribune