The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) gets snowplows out to clear the roads of snow and ice as soon as possible after a snowstorm hits. Crews typically start by clearing the busiest state routes and the most hazardous areas, like hills, ramps, bridges and interchanges.
Motorists who have to be out on the roads can get frustrated when they find themselves traveling behind or alongside snowplows.
Why you shouldn’t “crowd the plow”
It’s imperative for everyone’s safety that drivers co-exist with snowplow operators. That means giving them plenty of room to do their job. As WSDOT says, “Don’t crowd the plow.”
The plows on the front of the truck are often wider than a single lane. They also extend several feet ahead of the truck.
If you’re traveling too close to a snowplow, you might get a cloud of snow thrown at your windshield, which can blind you. WSDOT cautions drivers never to drive into a cloud of snow – even if you don’t see a snowplow. One could be just ahead of you.
Further, anti-icing material may be spread from the back of the truck. WSDOT recommends staying at least 200 feet (approximately 15 car lengths) behind a snowplow.
It’s important to remember that the snowplow operator may have a highly restricted field of vision. Don’t assume they can see you. That’s another reason why it’s wise not to pass them unless you’re in a distant lane.
Expect the unexpected
Also, don’t assume that a snowplow will continue going straight. They may take an exit or have to move suddenly to avoid hitting a stranded motorist or vehicle.
Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t exercise these precautions around snowplows. If you’ve been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, don’t settle for less than the compensation you need to cover medical bills and other expenses and damages. It may be wise to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.