With snow expected again this week, the Colorado Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to give snow plows space to work. In addition to giving snowplows in Colorado “Room to Groom”, CDOT is asking that drivers refrain from passing plows on the right side of the road. Several accidents between passenger vehicles and snow plows occur every year in Colorado. In most of these incidents, drivers were attempting to pass a plow. Snow plows have a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour, which may seem slow enough for drivers to pass, but doing so can be very risky. A list of rules to follow to help prevent car and snow plow collisions is available below.
RULES TO ABIDE: When motorists come upon snow removal operations on the road and highway, CDOT officials recommend this guidance:
Never pass on the right — Never a good idea! Many plows use a blade extension (wing plow) on the right hand side of the truck. The blade extends the plowing area towards the shoulder of the road, leaving no room to pass. Also, plows are designed to push all the snow, slush, rocks and other debris to the right of the truck. The flying debris will damage your vehicle and obstruct your view of the road.
Never pass during tandem/echelon plowing — Tandem/echelon plowing staggers multiple plows to cover all lanes and clear the entire roadway in one coordinated sweep. This is the safest and most efficient snow removal method to clear the entire roadway. It is extremely dangerous for motorists to try and pass plows in this formation because you could encounter white out conditions, ridges of snow between lanes or get trapped between the snow plow trucks.
Never tailgate — Plows need to drop deicer and sand, so make sure you stay back at least three to four car lengths of space. If you’re too close, your visibility is reduced and deicer and sand could hit your car. You also never know when a plow might need to suddenly stop — make sure you have plenty of room to do the same.