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Keeping snowplow etiquette in mind so all Sask. motorists arrive home safely

Keeping snowplow etiquette in mind so all motorists arrive home safely
With the launch of the Saskatchewan's annual snowplow safety campaign on Dec. 17, officials are asking motorists to “be aware, pass with care.”. Nathaniel Dove / Global News

Provincial snowplows are used to make Saskatchewan highways safer and these crews are involved in collisions each winter, according to the Ministry of Highways.

Wendy Koslowski was in one of them. The snowplow operator was rear-ended by a car on Highway 11 in January, south of Duck Lake, Sask.

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“It was just a bump… me stepping on the brakes so hard, it flung me ahead and I hit my face on the steering wheel and bounced back,” she said.

“It was scary even for a small car to hit a big truck… I never thought it would hurt that much until it happened.”

She was forced off work for several months and continues to recover.

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“It hurt my shoulder, my neck. It still hurts… It took about two, three months to get it where I can get back to work. I can move my arm, I can lift things again. I can turn my head to a certain degree,” Koslowski said.

“I’m still having problems… I still can’t pick up my little girl. She is too heavy now. But with time, I’m hoping it’ll come back.”

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Koslowski said the collision still impacts her family to this day.

“It affected my family. They do worry… we still say, ‘I’ll see you in the morning or after work,’” Koslowski said.

“The first time getting back in the truck after my accident, the way I felt nervous, very nervous, (and ) scared. I was double guessing myself at times. I take longer now before I pull out… but I am getting over it. It will be a while before anybody gets over anything like that.”

“I’m not asking for anybody to feel sorry for me. This is the job. I enjoy it. I really do it. It helps me to feel needed to help other people, to get them where they need to be, home with their family and their friends.”

Family mourns 2 children, paramedics mourn one of their own after Sask. crash
Family mourns 2 children, paramedics mourn one of their own after Sask. crash

There’s an average of five collisions with snowplows in Saskatchewan annually, according to Highways Minister Greg Ottenbreit.

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With the launch of the province’s annual snowplow safety campaign on Dec. 17, officials are asking motorists to “be aware, pass with care.”

Officials said drivers can help keep roads safe this winter by:

  • slowing to 60 km/h when highway equipment or other emergency vehicles are stopped with warning lights in operation;
  • staying back and staying safe since snowplows can create mini-blizzards known as the “snow zone”;
  • allowing snowplows sufficient time and space since they will pull over about every 10-15 kilometres or when safe to do so;
  • driving according to weather and road conditions;
  • passing only when safe to do so; and
  • planning ahead by using the Highway Hotline online or by calling 511.

For the latest conditions and warnings, download the SkyTracker weather app.