Colorado Department of Transportation asks travelers to be aware of snowplow operations throughout the state as maintenance crews work to keep roads clear during and after snowstorms.
“Every winter, we experience several passenger vehicles crashing into our plow trucks. In most every incident, they were attempting to pass our plows,” said Greg Stacy, CDOT maintenance section three superintendent, in a news release. “In order for our plows to remove snow efficiently and apply sand or deicing agents safely, a maximum speed of 35 mph is required. This speed may seem slow to some drivers following a snowplow, but to attempt passing is very, very risky!”
Durango-area drivers don’t need to worry about dodging snowplows in the immediate future. The area is expected to remain dry this weekend, with minimal chance for light snowfall in the high country near Silverton, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
When motorists encounter snow-removal operations on roads and highways, CDOT recommends the following:
Never pass on the right. Plows use a blade-extension (wing plow) on the right-hand side of the truck. The blade extends the plowing area toward the shoulder of the road, leaving no room to pass. Also, plows are designed to push snow, slush, rocks and other debris to the right of the truck. Flying debris will damage vehicles and obstruct the view of the road. Never pass during tandem or echelon plowing. Tandem or echelon plowing staggers multiple plows to cover all lanes and clear the road in one, coordinated sweep. It is the safest and most efficient snow-removal method to clear a road. It is dangerous for motorists to pass the formation because they can encounter white-out conditions, ridges of snow between lanes or be trapped between snowplows. Never tailgate. Plows need to drop deicer and sand. Drivers should stay back at least three to four car-lengths. If too close, visibility is reduced and deicer and sand can hit vehicles.“The best advice to avoid causing a crash is simple: Do not crowd the plows. When a plow is in a crash, it can no longer maintain the roadways for everyone, because the equipment needs to be inspected and sometimes repaired,” Stacy said in the news release.
For more information, visit www.codot.gov.