Stay safe when driving around snowplows

As winter weather rapidly approaches, ITD reminds motorists to use caution when traveling the state's highways during inclement weather and to cooperate with highway workers clearing the highways.

When driving near snowplows, keep a few safety tips in mind:

  • Remain two car lengths behind snowplow trucks for every 10 mph you drive. Sand being spread by trucks can damage your vehicle.
  • Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must pass, do so only when you can clearly see the road ahead.
  • Do not pass on the side where the plow is spraying snow. If you do, the snow's force can knock your car out of control. Rocks and other debris mixed with snow also can damage your vehicle.
  • Watch for "wing" plow blades that extend beyond the travel lane being plowed.
  • Do not cut back immediately in front of a snowplow truck. The plow blades often are covered with snow and can be difficult to see.
  • Do not brake suddenly if you are traveling in front of a snowplow. The heavy vehicle cannot stop as quickly as an automobile.
  • Do not abandon your car unless it is absolutely necessary. However, if you must, leave it as far off the road as possible and tie a bright cloth to the driver's side mirror or antenna to warn snowplow drivers. Abandoned cars can interfere with the road clearing process and can be extremely hazardous to snow removal equipment and the operators if they are hidden or buried by snow.
  • Be aware of potential icy areas such as shady spots, especially bridges and overpasses. Since they are exposed on their undersides, bridges and overpasses are deprived of ground warmth and freeze more rapidly than the roadways leading to them.
  • For the latest highway and weather conditions call Idaho’s 511 Traveler Information Service at 5-1-1. For online updates, visit Telephone and Web reports are available 24 hours a day and are updated as conditions change.


Published 11-23-2012