Winter weather has brought snowy driving conditions to much of Idaho. Unfortunately, the rise in snowy road conditions has also led to a sharp rise in snowplow strikes. Nine Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) plows have been hit so far this winter season. Five strikes happened over the last seven days.
Two of the most recent strikes happened this Wednesday in the Magic Valley, one on I-84 north of Twin Falls, and one on I-84 west of Wendell. Both involved a semi truck rear-ending a plow. The vehicles will be out of service for up to two weeks while they undergo repairs.
“It’s a major impact on maintenance sheds when equipment is taken out of service. We are limited on snowplows,” Jerome Foreman Brian Davidson said. “It makes it more difficult to keep roads clear.”
Another recent strike happened on Tuesday in Nampa. The plow was heading eastbound on I-84 near Karcher Road. A pickup pulling a trailer merged onto the interstate and lost control. The trailer swung out and hit the ITD vehicle’s wing plow. There was no lasting damage to the snowplow.
ITD wants to remind drivers how to be safe around snowplows.
- Do not pass a plow on the right. Plows have a 10-foot extendable wing plow on the right side that may be difficult to see in snowy conditions.
- Provide ample space for plows to work and steer clear of their blind spots. This also means increasing your following distance behind the plow.
- Practice patience and stay behind the plow for the safest road conditions.
- Plows often operate in pairs to clear multiple lanes; never position yourself between tandem plows.
- In case of a crash or if you need to stop on the side of the road, stay inside your vehicle for both your safety and that of our plow operators.
Last winter, there were 17 plow strikes, a number ITD does not want to repeat. Please be careful driving and mindful of our plows. Check 511.idaho.gov or the Idaho 511 App for road conditions before traveling. For more winter driving tips, visit itd.idaho.gov/travel.
*For real-time updates and photos of plow strikes, visit ITD’s Facebook or X pages.