If you’ve ever been caught behind the snowplow, you may have experienced the feeling of “happy dread” – you’re glad to see your tax dollars put to good use keeping you safe, but personally frustrated at getting stuck behind the snowplow.

You may have wondered, “Why are they going so slow?” Your first thought may be to pass the plow, but this is risky. Snowplow drivers adjust their speed according to conditions such as heavy or wet snow, ice, or residential areas. If the snowplow is traveling too fast, the anti-skid materials they disperse will not stay on the road. Despite the urge to pass the plow, the safest place for you and for the plow driver is for you to remain a safe distance behind the plow.

The state’s job of removing snow and ice from roadways takes time. The average length of a snow removal route is 40 miles. Under ideal conditions, and in a low-accumulation storm, Pennsylvania DOT estimates that it takes approximately 2 hours to complete one route on an interstate or expressway, and closer to 3 hours for secondary state roads.

Snowplow accidents can be avoided by following some practical advice:

  • Maintain a safe following distance – adopt the 4-second-rule, which equates to 2 times the normally recommended lag time between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Following too closely increases the chances of loose materials from the plow flying up and hitting your vehicle;
  • Remember that the snowplow has blind spots, just like any other large truck;
  • Your headlights should be set to low beam;
  • If you are thinking of passing the snowplow, ask yourself, “Is this pass absolutely necessary?”

If you or someone you know is involved in an accident and you have any legal questions, please contact Scott Bonebrake. Scott is a general practitioner in Media, PA, and has been a licensed attorney for 25 years. If you have any legal questions, please feel free to contact Scott at 610-892-7700, or at sbonebrake@noelandbonebrake.com.