Snowplow crashes on the rise; officials warn drivers to use more caution

Posted 2/13/20

After a series of crashes, state and county officials are urging motorists to use extra caution and be on the lookout for snowplows and other work trucks.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Snowplow crashes on the rise; officials warn drivers to use more caution

Posted

After a series of crashes, state and county officials are urging motorists to use extra caution and be on the lookout for snowplows and other work trucks.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation has experienced a higher-than-normal number of collisions for the 2019-2020 winter season. As of last week, 21 vehicles had collided with WYDOT snowplows since October. That’s already up substantially from the average of about eight collisions over the past five winters.

Meanwhile, a Park County Road and Bridge truck was hit by a vehicle while out sanding roads in the Powell area on Sunday. The other driver “just couldn’t get slowed down” in the icy conditions, said Park County Engineer Brian Edwards.

No one was injured in Sunday’s crash and the county’s truck was not damaged, but the other driver’s vehicle was “pretty smashed up,” Park County Public Works said in a Facebook post.

“Please slow down and be mindful of the road conditions,” said the post.

WYDOT is making a similar plea to drivers. In a news release last week, the department highlighted a Jan. 30 crash on Interstate 80 east of Rock Springs, in which a tractor trailer collided with the rear end of a WYDOT snowplow. No injuries were reported, but the plow was flipped on its side.

“Our mission is to ensure the safety of the entire traveling public, including the men and women of WYDOT who are out maintaining the roads during wintry weather,” said WYDOT Director Luke Reiner. “We want everyone to get to their destinations safely and we urge everyone to slow down for conditions and be aware of their surroundings.”

Snowplows travel at 25 to 45 mph, depending on conditions. Motorists should stay a safe distance behind the plows until it’s safe to pass, WYDOT says.

“If a motorist sees a cloud of snow ahead of them, they should use caution and not drive into it because there could be a snowplow ahead of them,” said WYDOT Chief Engineer Shelby Carlson. “If a motorist sees something like that, they should stay back and wait. If they can then see the truck, they can use caution and pass when safe to do so, if they absolutely need to.”

Motorists also should never pass a snowplow on the right side of a two-lane road because a snowplow could be using its wing plow, WYDOT says. A motorist could see the wing plow last minute and end up running into it.

To stay safe, motorists should stay far behind snowplows so they can drive on roads that WYDOT crews have maintained and also so the plow operator can see them in their rear-facing mirrors.

“’If you can’t see to safely pass, don’t,” Carlson said. “The snowplow will pull over to let you pass when they are able to. They will move over when it is safe for them and you.”

The agency also advises winter drivers to check WYDOT’s 511 travel information website at www.wyoroad.info, have an emergency kit, check their tires, allot extra time to reach their destinations and let someone know where they’re heading.

Comments