Safely sharing the road with Colorado’s snowplows

In many ways, snowplows are a necessary hazard on roads throughout Colorado. From snow removal to the distribution of salt, sand and ice-melting chemicals, snowplows make Golden’s city streets and highways safe for work commutes and household errands alike. Drivers must be sure to exercise caution when plow are out, however, not only for the weather conditions but because of the snowplows themselves.

Snow and ice can make roads nearly impossible to pass safely. Whether they are spreading chemicals in anticipation of heavy snow or attempting to clear several inches of accumulation, snowplows are operating along a relentless schedule to keep Colorado drivers safe. When sharing the road with snowplows, drivers should follow three easy safety tips:

  • Tandem formation: It is not uncommon for snowplows to operate on a road staggered diagonally across multiple lanes. In this way, they can clear an entire multi-lane thoroughfare in one sweep. While this is the most efficient snow removal method, it can be dangerous for motorists who attempt to pass plows in this formation. It is crucial that motorists remain three to four car lengths behind the rear-most snowplow.
  • Tailgating: While it might be true that the snowplow is operating far below the posted speed limit, motorists must not become frustrated. Following too closely, your visibility might be impaired by sand or de-icer and you’ll never see if the snowplow stops or slows unexpectedly.
  • Right-lane passing: Passing a snowplow on the right is never encouraged. For the most part, plows are designed to move snow and ice out of their lane to the right. Not only can this flying debris impact a driver’s ability to see, but chunks of ice could damage the car’s windshield.

The winter months can lead to numerous safety challenges for Colorado drivers. When distracted driving, impaired driving and unsafe driving habits are added to the equation, the roads become truly unsafe. Drivers are encouraged to exercise caution when operating around snowplows.