What’s with the green warning lights on snow plow trucks?

You may have noticed, as I have, that there are more and more green warning lights flashing on snow plow trucks these days. Public Act 161 of 2016 modified Michigan Compiled Law 257.698 to allow the use of green flashing lights on state, county or municipal vehicles engaged in snow removal operations or road maintenance.

The change in the law happened after a handful of county road commissions and the Michigan Department of Transportation approached the legislature with the idea that the green lights would enhance safety during snow operations on the highway. The green lights offer a higher degree of contrast against the white background of snow falling and are better seen by the human eye than the amber lights. It should be noted that MCL 257.698(5) only allows for the green lights to be used by government owned vehicles, and it is not legal for privately owned plow trucks to use them.

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As new vehicles are purchased and older vehicles receive upgrades, the use of the green lights will become even more common out on the road. Most road agencies are using a combination of the traditional amber warning lights in addition to the green, in order to provide a blend of warning colors effective in all conditions.

This video is from the Michigan Department of Transportation on the subject:

When you see road maintenance vehicles with emergency lights activated, regardless of the color of the lights, always slow down and give them plenty of room. It is always recommended that when driving into a work zone, into adverse weather, event traffic or any other situation, that you end any cellular phone calls and really focus on the road. The life you save could be ours, or your own.

Stan Torres, Manager of Municipal Properties, Department of Public Works

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