Stock photo shown above.
With snow in the forecast for several regions in the state, the Idaho Transportation Department would like to remind drivers how to travel with plows on the road.
In just the last two weeks, there have been four incidents of drivers striking plows and two incidents of drivers forcing them off the road. This compares to eight plow strikes recorded last year. Most of the collisions have occurred after other drivers tried passing plows on the right.
Drivers should be aware that most ITD trucks have two plows: one on the front, and one that extends from the right side known as a wing plow. Lights alert drivers to the presence of wing plows, but during storms those lights and the wing plows can be obscured by plumes of snow.
So far this winter, plows have been struck in nearly every region of the state:
- On Dec. 9, a plow was hit on Interstate 90 near the Rose Lake exit when a driver tried to pass on the right.
- On Dec. 14, a plow on U.S. Highway 95 near Moscow was forced off the road to avoid hitting a vehicle that had lost control and was in the opposing lane.*
- On Dec. 16, a plow was hit on U.S. Highway 20 near Ashton and on Interstate 84 near Twin Falls. Both incidents involved drivers trying to pass on the right. That same night a plow on US-95 near Winchester was forced off the road to avoid hitting a vehicle that had lost control and was in the opposing lane.
The latest plow strike occurred this morning on I-90 near Osburn. Another vehicle attempted to pass the plow on the right, collided with the wing and forced the plow off the road. The driver then fled the scene. The Idaho State Police are investigating the incident.
To date no one has been injured. However, plows must be checked for any damage before being put back into service, which stretches resources thin with a direct impact to driving conditions.
“This time of year drivers need to take their time and never pass a plow on the right,” said Jerry Wilson, the operations engineer for North Idaho. “Let’s all get home safely.”
*Post updated Dec. 23 to reflect that this near-collision occurred on Dec. 17 on Palouse River Drive near the Moscow shed.