SDDOT Is Reminding Drivers About Snowplow Safety

PIERRE – The South Dakota Department of Transportation officials are reminding motorists to use extra caution when encountering snowplows that are clearing highways, shoulders and ditches.

So far this winter season, there have been 12 crashes where a private vehicle has run into one of the department’s snowplows while they were doing snow removal operations both on and off the highway.

Director of Operations Greg Fuller says crashes happen for a variety of reasons, but generally occur because drivers are inattentive, overdriving road conditions and/or underestimating the speed at which plows travel.

“The safety of drivers and our snowplow operators is the department’s number one priority,” says Fuller. “We ask drivers to exercise an abundance of caution when coming up behind a snowplow, meeting a snowplow, or when encountering equipment doing work on the shoulders and in the ditches by slowing down, staying back a safe distance and giving them room to do their work.”

Two of the 12 crashes this year involved private vehicles hitting and causing extensive damage to two snowplows that were parked on the shoulder assisting crews performing snow-blowing operations in the right of way. When large amounts of snow accumulate in the ditches and along the shoulder, crews will take advantage of the nicer weather to move the snow further back from the roadway. This is done for motorist safety to reduce drifting from blowing snow and it also frees up storage space in the ditches for future snow events.

The Department is also reminding Motorists of the “Move Over” law which states that motorists must move over for vehicles displaying flashing red or amber lights.

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