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Journal Article


Harju M, Uusitalo J. Res. Rep. Finn. Transp. Agency 2011; (35): online.


(Copyright © 2011, Finnish Transport Agency)






The purpose of this study was to point out the problems in visibility of the devices used in the snow clearance of the road network. Another goal was to give background information and recommendations for The Finnish Transport Agency's instructions of improving visibility of the devices used in the snow clearance of the road network. There are currently major differences between contractors with warning device of side plough, and these differences cause safety problems for drivers of the snow plough equipment as well as other users of the road network. In a first place the goal of this study was to improve traffic safety in winter season. In this study current/present legislation and instructions in Finland, Norway and Sweden were explored. It was noted that some difference between Nordic legislation and instruction for warning equipment existed. These differences were related for color schemes of snow ploughs as well as colors and placing of warning lights. It was also noted that in Finland more instructions for warning equipment have been legislated comparing to other Nordic countries. Analysis of accidents and near miss situations of winter season was made by using Finnish Transport Agency and ELY's safety statistics from 2008 to 2010. Also incidents relating winter maintenance that occurred in the beginning of 2011 were analyzed. Most of the accidents were caused when the road user had rear-ended/crashed with plough truck or side plough. Near miss-situations were mostly related to road users overtaking plough trucks. Electric query form was sent for current contractors and manufacturers of plough equipment. Queries were completed with interviews. The purpose of this query was to establish safety of the snow removal from area contractors and device manufacturers' point of view. Based on the responses of the query it could be concluded that drivers were aware of the problems caused by poor visibility of the snow plough equipment. Respondents hoped to get more warning equipment for ploughs. The need for improving road user's awareness of risks of snow removal came also up during the query. Respondents were also worried about road user's habits of taking risks in the traffic. Equipment and warning devices that are used by area contractors were surveyed during the study. Snow removal was also videotaped in different weather condition by driving behind of the plough trucks. Based on the equipment survey and videotapes a comparison of the warning equipment and improving suggestions were made in an extended control/project group. Suggestive recommendation for improving visibility of a plough truck with side plough was prepared based on this comparison. In this recommendation those warning equipment's that are required in a future are presented in general terms, as well as their location. There is no need for restriction of the use of side plough based on this study. Standardization of the warning equipment's needs to be set as a goal, and this goal can be reached by setting minimum requirements for these devices and by having an ordinary acceptance method, set by the customer. Recommendation of this study is suggestive and its purpose is to be a starting point when defining minimum requirements and instructions. However, these specified instructions should be established in a way that they enable development of warning equipment's also in a future. This report may be found at


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