Snowplow Driving Safety in Coeur d’Alene

December 28, 2022


A rash of car accidents involving snowplows has turned a spotlight on the dangers of winter travel in Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County.

KXLY-TV reports that according to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) there have already been nine accidents involving snowplows on Idaho roads in 2022. That figure is as of December 20. According to a tweet from local authorities, there were three accidents reported on December 20th alone in Kootenai County.

Those three accidents included a devastating crash that caused an injury. It happened on U.S. 95 south of Coeur d’Alene. Investigators determined that the driver of a vehicle lost control and ran head-on into a snowplow. The vehicle’s driver was rushed to the hospital. The snowplow driver did not suffer injuries.

The two other snowplow accidents reported that day included a crash on I-90 near Coeur d’Alene and a collision on Highway 95, south of Athol.

These accidents and others are frightening reminders for motorists to always take extra care around the snowplows they’ll share the road with all winter.

Driving Safely Around Idaho Snowplows

In 2021, there were 11 crashes involving Idaho snowplows. It’s a statistic that the ITD doesn’t want to surpass this year or in 2023.

Snowplows can weigh up to 58,000 lbs and they can do a shocking amount of damage to smaller cars and SUVs. Driving in snow and ice will be hazardous enough, but these giant trucks and the snow they throw aside create additional dangers.

With safety for motorists and its snowplow drivers in mind, the ITD posted several tips for traveling around snowplows:

  • Don’t Pass Snowplows – If possible, stay well behind snowplows. The road surface will be clearer behind them anyway. You’ll also avoid getting hit with rocks and other debris. You could slide into a snowplow while trying to pass.
  • Stay Out of the Snowplow Drivers Blind Spot – Like any big rig, a snowplow driver will have larger blind spots than you’ll have in your SUV. Your car can end up in a spot where the driver can’t see you. This can lead to accidents, especially in snowy and foggy conditions.
  • Pass on the Right – If you must pass a snowplow, try to do so on the right. This will keep you away from the plows on the truck. Some snowplows have two plows, with one extending from under the driver’s side.
  • Don’t Get Between Snowplow Drivers – Snowplow drivers often work in pairs. Try not to get between them.
  • Drive at Speeds Safe for Conditions – Slowing down is the best way to handle snowy and icy roads. The speed limit applies in normal, dry road conditions. When snow and ice are on the roads you are legally required to slow down to a speed that allows you to avoid collisions. You can be liable for accidents when it’s determined you were traveling too fast for the conditions.
  • Follow the Three-Second Rule – Stay at least three seconds behind snowplows and all other vehicles. This will give you more time to brake on slick roads and steer clear of obstacles.

Get Home Safely on Snowy Idaho Roads

Getting to your destination a few minutes later is a small price to pay for the safety of your passengers and the other motorists on the road. Slow down and, when in doubt, stay a safe distance behind that snowplow ahead.

If you are in an accident caused by another motorist or a snowplow driver, remember that careless drivers can be held responsible for damage and injuries even when roads are snowy. Mother nature is not an excuse for a driver going too fast for the conditions.

If you or a loved one are hurt in a wintertime accident in northern Idaho, speak with a skilled, Coeur d’Alene Car Accident Lawyer. You’ll receive a free consultation. It’s a no-risk way to find out who can be held accountable for your hospital bills and your lost time at work after a devastating wintertime car accident.

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