OCRC Reminds Motorists to be Safe, Alert This Winter Season

Ottawa County Road Commission crews are working hard to help keep area roadways clear during our first major snow event of the 2022-23 winter maintenance season.

As our crews begin to share the road with area drivers, the OCRC is offering up some tips and information on winter operations, from plowing priorities to snow plow safety.

Plowing Priorities

Winter maintenance operations are conducted in accordance with the established priority system based on traffic volumes, road classification, and location.

The priorities are as follows:

1 – State Trunklines (i.e. I-96, I-196, US-31, M-45)
2 – Multi-lane Primary Roads
3 – Primary Roads
4 – Local Paved Roads
5 – Subdivision Streets
6 – Local Gravel Roads
7 – Dead End Streets and Cul-de-sacs

Tips For Driving


Do not attempt to pass snow plow vehicles while they are plowing. Never attempt to pass a snow plow on the right.

Do not crowd the plow! Plow drivers have limited visibility and they cannot see directly behind their trucks. Please be aware that snow plow trucks may back up at intersections.

Be sure your windshield is clear of ice and snow. Make sure washer fluids are full, tires have proper air pressure and tread, and your vehicle is equipped with essential emergency equipment.

Posted speeds are for ideal road conditions. Michigan law requires motorists to drive at a “careful and prudent speed” in all conditions. Reduce speeds and increase following distances. Accelerate and brake slowly and avoid over-steering.

Beware of ice patches. Bridges and overpasses freeze first.

Avoid distractions. Don’t talk on your cell or text.

Always wear your safety belt. Ensure that all passengers are properly buckled, and children are in appropriate child-restraints.

Keep Away from the Road

Our plow drivers often deal with low visibility during winter weather events. Snow is constantly flying onto the windshield and around the plow truck. These conditions make it a challenge for our drivers to see anyone along the road — both children playing and homeowners shoveling or blowing snow on their driveways.

Just because you can see or hear the plow truck doesn’t mean the driver can see you! Make sure your far enough off of the road and away from the truck when it is operating in your vicinity. 

Plows can throw large chunks of ice into ditches when plowing, these chunks of snow and ice could cause you to become injured.

Make sure you remind your children that it is never a good idea to tunnel into snow or build forts in the snowbanks along the side of the road. Our drivers will not be able to see you, and if you’re in the tunnel, you could be “snowed in” when a truck plows next to you.