The Minnesota Department of Transportation has a new weapon in their winter road clearing arsenal. Meet the MnDOT 'Tow Plow.'

The 'Tow Plow' looks like a standard orange MnDOT snowplow, with a trailer that appears to have swung free with a mind of its own. In fact, some drivers have been afraid that a trailer has indeed come free from the truck.

Fear not. The 'Tow Plow' is intended to swing over into a second lane, behind the big orange truck, allowing the driver to clear two lanes at once.

But wait, there's more. MnDOT's 'Tow Plow' can also lay treat its lane by applying either a granola sand and salt mixture, or liquid chemicals.

MnDOT reminds Minnesota drivers that we should always stay back, from a standard plow or a 'Tow Plow,' adding that the 'Tow Plow' tends to throw up even more snow than a standard truck, affecting visibility.

Regarding snow safety from the Minnesota Department of Transportation's website: 

Last year in Minnesota, there were 72 crashes involving vehicles that hit snowplows.  This is typically caused by inattentive drivers, motorists driving too close to the plow or motorists driving too fast for conditions.

MnDOT recommends the following to stay safe this winter on Minnesota roads:

  • Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
  • Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions, and give yourself plenty of travel time. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.
  • Buckle up and ensure children are properly secured in the correct child restraint.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel if road conditions are too poor.

Minnesota's snowplow drivers have a lot to stay on top of when they're out clearing our highways, and they often have hampered visibility due to all that snow flying around -- making it hard to see you, so make sure you give them plenty of room.

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