The National Academies

NCHRP 06-12 [Completed]

Improved Visibility for Snow Plowing Operations

  Project Data
Funds: $299,581
Research Agency: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Principal Investigator: Mark S. Rea and Brian E. Thompson
Effective Date: 1/1/1996
Completion Date: 12/31/1999

The project identified several means that could be used to improve visibility for snowplowing operations.

In many parts of the United States, snow and ice control may be the most hazardous duty faced by highway maintenance crews on a regular basis. Visibility is reduced during snowplowing operations because of reflected headlight glare, obscured windows, and blowing snow. In addition, this type of work frequently requires long working hours and is often performed at night during extreme weather conditions. The factors affecting visibility depend on climatic conditions and are often influenced by the features of the plow, the vehicle, and the lighting system. Because poor visibility reduces operational safety and contributes substantially to the hazards faced by snowplow operators and motorists, there is need to identify features that would improve visibility for both the snowplow operator and the motorists near the snowplowing vehicle.

The research reviewed existing and proposed approaches for improving visibility for snowplowing operations, identified and developed potential means for improving these operations, and conducted limited tests to evaluate the potential benefits of these means. Because limited tests were conducted in this project, the merits of the identified means and the practicality of their unlimited use by highway agencies could not be fully evaluated. The agency's final report has been distributed to all state highway agencies. The report is summarized in NCHRP Research Results Digest 250.

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