Massachusetts Safe Driving: Don’t Crowd the Plow

Snowplows have a very important job during winter, clearing snow from streets and de-icing the roadways. Plows typically travel at an average speed between 25 and 30 miles per hour and travel on all roads including highways and smaller local roads to clear the street.

If you are driving on the road with a plow, you may be tempted to follow closely behind it or even to pass it — especially if you are trapped behind it and frustrated with its slow speed. Unfortunately, doing these things can be dangerous and our Watertown car accident attorneys caution that a part of driving safely in the winter time is making sure you never crowd the plow. 1104114_snowplow_truck_pictogram_1.jpg

Tips for Driving Safely with a Snow Plow
Snowplows have large blind spots, so following too closely behind the plow or crowding the plow can put you in very serious danger. Plows may also have to stop suddenly or even back up, which exacerbates the risk of tailgating. As many as 30 percent of accidents related to snow plows can occur when people follow too closely behind and this is a risk you don’t want to take.

In addition to leaving snowplow operators plenty of room to do their jobs without you getting in their way, there are also a few other things that you can do in order to stay safe if you are sharing the road with a snowplow. For example, some tips include the following:

  • Be aware of plows on interstate ramps or using authorized vehicle turn-around areas on highways. Plows may come from places you do not expect and it is important to pay attention and always be alert and aware of your surroundings so you do not accidentally become involved in a crash with a plow.
  • Know what lane the plow is in on multi-lane highways. Snowplows could be in any lane or even driving along the shoulder of the road. It is important to know where they are so you can maintain a safe distance and avoid getting into the plow’s blind spot.
  • Don’t pass a plow and especially do not pass on the shoulder of the road. Passing a plow in any situation will put you in front of the path of the cleared snow and de-iced roads. Depending on road conditions, it may be safer to follow the plow making the roads safe than to try to tackle driving on un-cleared roads. Passing on the shoulder is the most dangerous of all, however, because plows move snow over to the road shoulder.
  • Don’t drive through snow clouds or through white-outs. It can be difficult or impossible to tell sometimes if the low visibility in a cloud or white-out is caused by a cross wind or is caused by the plow. Either way, driving through a snow cloud puts you at serious risk of a crash due to your impaired ability to see the road or other cars on it.

These are just a few of many tips for driving safely when you are sharing a road with a snowplow. Above all else, remember that you should never crowd the plow.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:
DUI and Holiday Accident Fatalities in Boston, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2012

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