(photo by Michael Percha)

Winter is coming, and the Michigan Department of Transportation is inspecting its equipment.

As colder temperatures move in, Michigan residents will need to be prepared for snow and ice on the roads. MDOT will have its plow and salt trucks out in force once that happens. But first, they need to make sure everything is in working order. Properly attached hydraulic fittings, working lights and blades are just some of the items on the safety inspection checklist.

(photo by Michael Percha)

In Saginaw County, the MDOT maintenance facility on Washington Ave. near Outer Dr. also holds salt. A lot of it. MDOT Associate Region Engineer for Operations Kimberly Zimmer says the county goes through about 60,000 pounds of salt in the winter. That’s about 120 million pounds.

MDOT also has some tips for staying safe when around plows and salt trucks this winter.

First and foremost, slow down. The faster you travel on slippery roads, the harder it is to stop. When state or county snow plows are out in operation, remain at least six to 10 vehicle lengths behind the plow. While all plows now come equipped with flashing green lights, blowing snow from the plows or salt sprayed from salt trucks can reduce visibility. Also, the closer you are to the trucks, the harder it is for their drivers to see you. If you’re unable to see their mirrors, you’re in their blind spots.

Also remember, the colder it gets, the longer it takes for salt to be effective at melting ice.