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Editorial: Don't be so quick to plow ahead

The streets are a mess! Vehicles are slipping, sliding and skidding.

When you come up to a four-way stop, the odds are that either you or the cross traffic won't be able to stop. You just hope it isn't both at the same time. Crash.

A turn signal indicates your intent, but on some of the iciest roadways means you just plain miss the turn ... and the next one. Better that than landing in the snowbank. Crunch.

This is ridiculous. Why aren't the roads clear?

While we understand that some drivers have become frustrated with the onslaught of severe winter driving conditions, we urge everyone to be patient. And reasonable. And sensible.

Consider that storms dumped 2 feet of snow in the last 10 days. Then temperatures plummeted to the point that road salt didn't work. Winds caused drifting. Sleet and freezing rain aggravated the situation (and motorists).

At times last week the flakes fell so fast that you would scrape off one side of your car and by the time you cleared the other side you had to scrape off the first again. Do you think it was any better for snowplow drivers on the roads?

The truth is that local plow drivers have become victims of their success. They have done such an amazing job over the years that expectations now exceed reputations as well as reality. People are too quick to blame and to complain. As one driver was heard saying over the radio scanner last week, "We're less popular than Donald Trump right now."

Motorists would do well to remember a few winter driving tips that will improve everyone's safety but also make it easier for plow drivers to do their jobs. The list includes:

• Don't park on the street if you can help it; our streets will be clearer if plows can go curb to curb.

• Stay home and off the roads when the weather is bad, and when you do venture out adhere to the mantra "ice and snow, take it slow."

• Before you go, check road conditions and then clear your vehicle of snow and ice, including from windows, lights, brake lights and signals. Even the roof, please. Make sure you can see and be seen.

• Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.

• Turn off your cruise control.

• Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely.

• When you encounter a plow, give way. While passing a snowplow is not illegal, use extreme caution when doing so. Your safest bet is to slow down and stay well behind the plow because you can't know the roadway conditions ahead.

• How far behind the plow? Experts say at least 10 car lengths.

If you've lived anywhere else in the great white north or even visited during the height of winter, you'll know how good we have it. Our snowplow drivers are the best and they are doing their best.

Now do your part. Spring will come, but until then slipping, sliding and slowing down are part of the mix.