Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) crews are out clearing and treating roads in southwest Minnesota. Currently, roads are completely covered in our area. MnDOT reminds motorists to plan ahead and practice good winter driving habits as patchy blowing snow and slippery roads impact morning travel.

The average snow plow route in District 8 (southwest and west central MN) is sixty miles, round-trip. Some routes are considerably longer. In difficult conditions it can take up to four hours for a snow plow operator to plow a route. In good conditions it can take two and a half hours to plow a route.

MnDOT asks motorists to respect the work zone surrounding snowplows. A plows’ sole purpose is to make the roads as clear and passable as quickly as possible. Motorists can help by remembering to:

• Check road conditions at www.511mn.org, or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.

• Manually turn your headlights on and cruise control off.

• Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.

• Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud.

• Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. Plows may also travel over centerlines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions.

• Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

• Concentrate on driving and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.

 For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov.