Snowplows are a common sight on Montana roads and highways throughout the winter and a welcome one — unless you get stuck behind one. That can be frustrating. However, it’s essential for drivers to exercise caution whenever they encounter a snowplow.
Remember that these are large, heavy vehicles. The plows in the front are wider than the the vehicle and may extend over the lane or center line.
If you are behind a snowplow, it’s best to stay there. Don’t pass it. Remember that the road behind the plow will be clearer than the road ahead of it. If visibility is poor due to the weather, assume that the snowplow driver may not see you if you try to pass.
Keep plenty of room between the snowplow and your vehicle — 200 feet is recommended. As the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) says, “Don’t crowd the plow.”
This can also help you stay clear of blowing snow from the plow that can be blinding. It might also be spreading salt or deicer behind it. Further, there may be a stuck car or other obstacle in the road they’ll have to stop for, and these vehicles can’t stop quickly.
It’s a good idea to move over a lane if possible if you see a snowplow traveling toward you in a lane traveling the opposite direction — particularly if there’s no divider. As noted, the front plow extends beyond the sides of the vehicle. Again, blowing snow from the plow can blind you.
Even if you take all of these precautions, not all drivers do. Unfortunately, some snowplow-related accidents can be the fault of the snowplow driver. If you are injured in a crash caused by another driver, take sure that you get the compensation you need to deal with medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages and other costs and damages resulting from the crash.