WYOMING – Ten different Wyoming Department of Transportation snowplows were struck between Feb. 11 through Feb. 16, according to a release from WYDOT. That brings the total number of snowplow collisions to 17 for this winter season.
One of those incidents occurred on Wyoming Highway 28 near Farson. Others occurred on Interstate 80 near Elk Mountain and Rawlins, on Wyoming Highway 120 south of Cody and multiple occurred on Interstate 25 near Wheatland, Chugwater and Douglas.
According to a release, most of the plows were struck from behind by other vehicles, resulting in minor damages and injuries. Although, one incident involved a tractor trailer hitting the rear of a plow. That incident totaled both vehicles and injured the WYDOT plow driver. Most of the public’s vehicles had to be towed from the incidents.
“We want to remind the public to be careful when driving around our plows during winter weather,” WYDOT Director K. Luke Reiner said. “Our drivers are out there maintaining the roads by clearing the snow and putting down materials to help keep traffic moving. We want all drivers to pay attention and be careful so everyone gets home safely.”
WYDOT statistics indicate the number of struck plows has grown over recent years. There were just three strikes during the 2016-17 winter season. That grew to eight in each of the following two seasons. There were 23 last season.
WYDOT encourages motorists to stay a safe distance behind a plow until passing is safe. Depending on weather conditions, plows travel at speeds of 25 to 45 mph.
“If a motorist sees a cloud of snow ahead of them when they are driving, there’s a good chance it is a snowplow,” Reiner said. “Do not drive into that cloud. Motorists should stay back and wait to pass. If a motorist sees the plow and they need to pass, they should do so only if they absolutely need to.”
It’s discouraged to pass a plow on the right side of a two-lane road because the plow could be using its wing plow, which juts out from the side.