Wing Plow Operational Guidelines / Based on Washington DOT Guidance Document.

Pre-Operational Check List:

  1. Inspect components for the following:
  • Plow and plow frames for cracks, broken welds or loose bolts. Safety chains and cutting edges for wear and general condition.
  • Plow pins for washers and cotter pins.
  • Hydraulic lines, fittings and cylinders for damage or leaks.
  • Safety chain security for transporting.
  • Bolts and push beam anchor bolts.
  • Rear mounting plate and wing brace vertical supports for bends, loose bolts and cracks.
  • Controls for smooth and correct operation.
  1. Repair or replace any items found to be deficient.
  2. Check the condition of the plows periodically during the shift and inspect at end of the shift.

Lowering the wing:

  1. Be certain area is clear and safety chain is removed.
  2. Lower wing to the pavement.

Raising the wing:

  1. Raising and lowering may be performed with the vehicle in motion.
  2. When approaching railroad crossings, slow down and raise the wing so as not to hook into tracks. Also use caution at bridge joints.

Safe Operating Practices:

  1. Each area should develop a site-specific plan for wing plow operation (“Wing Caution Zones”). There are obstacles. Know where they are.
  2. Important: refrain from unhooking the safety chain on the wing until the engine has been started and the hydraulics on the wing are pressurized, because the cylinder may not support the wing until charged.
  3. Do not operate the plow unless you are qualified, trained and understand how to operate the vehicle and the controls.
  4. Adjust your plowing speed to the conditions. e.g. obstacles, traffic volumes, pedestrians, highway conditions, grade, terrain and visibility.
  5. Use caution when plowing around obstacles. If in doubt, raise the wing.
  6. When roadway conditions are too narrow to accommodate the use of the wing without lane changes, raise the wing plow.
  7. Do not use the wing in weather conditions where visibility is adversely affected, such as heavy fog or whiteout conditions.
  8. Wing plowing is not recommended on soft surfaces such as gravel shoulders. If you do use the wing on soft surfaces, do so only after slowing to a safe speed and adjusting the wing lift to prevent the wing from penetrating the soft shoulder.
  9. Do not use the wing plow to widen out shoulders. The operator cannot see plow tip well enough to make fine adjustments necessary to perform this job safely.
  10. Do not use the wing plow if traffic or highway conditions are not suitable for safe operation.
  11. When using the wing plow, remain constantly alert to traffic and roadside obstacles.
  12. It is recommended to carry ballast when using the wing plow.
  13. Before leaving the unit secure the wing plow, if in the up position connect safety chain. If in the down position, leave resting on the ground.
  14. Slow down and downshift instead of lifting the wing plow, this will help maintain your plow pattern and reduce the time to clear the travel way.
  15. When plowing alone with the wing plow, use the underbody and/or the front plow in the same direction. Plow only the right lane and shoulder. Don’t use as a V-plow.
  16. When plowing in tandem in multi-lane areas with median snow storage, it is recommended that at least one truck plow the left a few hundred feet in front of the wing unit. This plow pattern provides a clear path left of the wing truck for motorist inclined to pass.
  17. When gang plowing (3 or more trucks), position the wing plow unit where the wing can be buffered or protected by one of the other plow trucks in the formation. See MDOT Maintenance Advisory MA 2008-06 for more direction.
  18. Safety chains are not designed to keep the wing plow tight against the side of the vehicle. Wings can move out even with safety chains properly attached.
  19. When storm conditions impair visibility and the centerline is difficult to find, discontinue use of the wing plow.
  20. Do not rub guardrail with the wing. The leverage exerted on the wing can turn the truck toward the rail. Be aware that when the wing is in the up position, it still extends past the edge of the underbody or edge of the front plow and can strike obstacles that plows or blades can clear.
  21. Use a block to prevent accidentally raising the wing whenever the truck or plow is being worked on.
  22. When mapping wing plow caution zones, don’t forget to include expansion joints on bridges. Check plow angle vs. joint angle.

About Dave Budd

Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. Serving Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Retired Michigan DOT, October 2010 after 32 years experience in Maintenance/Operations. Specializing in winter operations and liquid de-icers and anti-icers.
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2 Responses to Wing Plow Operational Guidelines / Based on Washington DOT Guidance Document.

  1. burning fat says:

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    • Dave Budd says:

      Thanks for the kind words. it’s no problem at all and WordPress is a great place to start a Blog. It’s free and you pretty intuitive when you get going.

      Good Luck,


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