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Staying safe when snowplows are on the road

| Dec 8, 2019 | Car Accidents

Just as we were starting to get used to cool autumn mornings, big snowstorms appeared on the horizon. Many Mid-Atlantic states battle severe weather for nearly half a year. It can quickly become a treacherous time for drivers and pedestrians alike.

It seems like every winter there is a snowplow-related accident that results in serious injuries or fatalities. These collisions can involve passenger vehicles or pedestrians at any time of the day on any type of street. Here are three tips to keep in mind when the weather turns bad.

  1. Do not pass. Passing on a snowy road is already a dangerous proposition but overtaking a snowplow can be deadly. The roads might already be slightly narrower due to snow accumulation and your visibility might be diminished due to weather conditions. In addition, it is just common sense that the road behind a snowplow is probably safer than the road in front of one.
  2. Follow at a safe distance. While snowplows are generally moving slower than the traffic around them, they are often required to make sudden moves to avoid obstacles such as stalled vehicles. It is best to play it safe when plows are working around you.
  3. Keep your tailpipe clear. Many drivers will start their car and let it run for several minutes before getting on the road. If you have parked on the street, you run the risk of being plowed in by the very vehicles attempting to keep you safe. If there is enough snow to cover and block your tailpipe, your engine exhaust has nowhere to go and will eventually start filling the car. Carbon monoxide can build up inside the car and quickly reach lethal levels. Drivers should make sure the ground around their tailpipe is clear before starting the car. If a plow dumps snow around the rear of your car, stay calm and shut off the engine.

While snowplows make the roads safer, drivers still need to exercise caution when sharing the road with one of these enormous vehicles. While not every state tracks these types of accidents, the Iowa DOT estimates that an average of 46 accidents each winter involve a snowplow. Drivers need to stay aware of all road hazards and contact an attorney as soon as possible after a vehicle collision.

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