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MDOT unveils Paint the Plow project and urges safe driving as winter approaches
November 16, 2023
LANSING, Mich. - As the last leaves fall and the days turn colder, Michiganders know that winter is just around the corner. To educate motorists about safe winter driving practices, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has teamed up with Ovid-Elsie High School and the Clinton County Road Commission to pilot the Paint the Plow program.
Paint the Plow is an opportunity for MDOT and local road agencies to partner with school districts to promote safe driving behavior and create awareness for the plow operators who work to keep Michigan’s roads free from snow and ice. The community outreach program was first introduced by Pennsylvania DOT and has also gathered momentum through some of Michigan’s county road agencies. Ovid-Elsie High School's National Art Honor Society students were invited to paint a creative and original piece of art reflecting their individual school, while promoting a selected safety theme. This year’s theme was, "Don't rush in ice and slush."
"The Ovid-Elsie High School students in the National Art Honor Society were thrilled to paint a snowplow blade for MDOT's Paint the Plow program," said Logan Kellogg, Ovid-Elsie High School art teacher. "It provided a valuable opportunity for teamwork and communication. Typically, art projects are done individually but this allowed us to collaborate and create an impressive 'Safe Driving in Winter' theme as a group. We're grateful to have had the opportunity to work on this project for MDOT."
MDOT will expand Paint the Plow and announce the application process for the 2024-2025 winter maintenance season this spring.
MDOT operates approximately 330 snowplows and contracts with 63 counties to maintain state highways (I, M and US routes). While MDOT relies on direct forces to plow about 25 percent of its state roads, the other 75 percent are plowed by county forces paid by the state for their services. Every winter, about 450,000 tons of salt are used to help in anti-icing and de-icing of roads.
"Winter in Michigan brings a number of challenges, but providing safe roads in every winter event is a priority for MDOT," said University Region Engineer Greg Losch. "Any assistance sharing safety messaging and creating awareness about safe driving practices in the winter benefits our entire state, and I'm grateful to see this effort from a group of talented high school students."
To help motorists prepare for the upcoming winter season, MDOT and the Michigan State Police (MSP) have numerous resources available:
- MDOT’s Mi Drive website is a useful online tool that helps motorists get to their destination safely. Motorists can visit www.Michigan.gov/Drive to access hundreds of traffic cameras and MDOT snowplows showing state highway conditions in real time. Also available are a speed layer and incident notifications to alert motorists to road backups or closures due to weather and crashes.
- MDOT's Winter Safety webpage is a resource that educates motorists about things such as salt use, tow plows, green lights on snowplows, and the department's winter level of service routes.
- MSP's Office of Highway Safety Planning website (www.Michigan.gov/WinterDriving) is packed with tips and useful resources for driving in winter conditions. Motorists can find timely advice on winterizing vehicles, passenger and pedestrian safety, handling emergencies, and more.
It is important to remember that MDOT, county road commissions, and municipalities have many brave people who pilot snowplows during Michigan’s most inclement winter weather. It is critical that motorists give plow drivers the space they need to do their jobs so everyone can make it home safely at the end of the day.
Photos: Ovid-Elsie High School art students introduced their safe winter driving-themed plow blade. They were joined by representatives from the Clinton County Road Commission and MDOT University Region Engineer Greg Losch.