Minn. The onset of heavy snowfalls and several crashes
involving snowplows prompt a warning from the Minnesota
Department of Transportation for motorists to use extra
care when driving near plows or in any weather or roadway
conditions that can affect driving safety.
Over three-fourths of these rear-end crashes occur on four-lane,
divided highways. Snowplow trucks clearing the left lane
or passing lane run almost twice the risk of getting hit
from behind as do trucks plowing the right lane. Most of
the occurrences happen in daylight hours and during "clean-up"
operations -- not at the peak of snowstorm.
State Patrol will take appropriate action against drivers
who have rear-ended snow plows or struck their plows from
behind. Offenses can range from inattentive driving, driving
too fast for conditions to careless driving. If injuries
occur charges can elevate.
Mn/DOT snowplow operators, and especially the left lane
drivers, are fully aware of the danger of being hit from
behind. They practice the ultimate in defensive driving.
There are instances when snowplow operators intentionally
drive their trucks into the median or ditch to avoid getting
struck by another vehicle. In most situations, unfortunately,
there is not enough time to get out of the way.
Most of the rear-end crashes with snowplow trucks are caused
by one or a combination of these factors:
1. People driving into a snow cloud or tailgating a snowplow
truck. Some motorists take their chances and literally
drive into a cloud of snow not knowing if something is in
or creating that swirl of white stuff. Snow clouds can be
generated by the wind and vehicles, especially semi-trucks
and snowplow trucks. Never drive into a snow cloud, especially
when attempting to pass another vehicle on a two-lane roadway.
2. Motorists driving their vehicles faster than road
conditions warrant. It is common knowledge that motorists
nowadays are driving their vehicles "to the limit"
-- and beyond -- when it comes to speed. As the snowplow
trucks make the roadways more driveable, the traffic goes
faster. Drivers take more risks and become more impatient.
do not realize how slowly a snowplow truck is moving.
Depending on the snow and ice conditions, snowplow trucks
may be traveling anywhere between 5 and 35 miles per hour.
If the truck is spreading sand and salt mix its speed is
usually around 10 to 20 mph.
4. Not paying attention to what lane the snowplow truck
is in on a four-lane roadway. Motorists may not think
about or understand how the driving lanes get cleared of
snow and ice on a four-lane divided highway.
and the Department of Public Safety also ask motorists to
observe the states new move over law when
they encounter emergency vehicles to give them an extra
margin of safety. The law requires that motorists move safely
a lane away from the emergency vehicle on a four-lane. If
you are not able to safely move a lane away, slow down.
Roadways are the workplace of law enforcement personnel,
medical first responders, tow truck drivers, transportation
personnel and other professionals.
Fast. Too Close. Too Late.