So far, this season, there has been an increase in the number of snowplows and spreaders being struck by vehicles during snow removal, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
“This can be a dangerous situation that threatens the safety of motorist as well as our MassDOT crews and contractors who are working hard to clear and treat the roadway to ensure safe travel,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin in a press release.
MassDOT is encouraging drivers to give snow plows extra space and has announced a campaign called “Don’t Crowd the Plow” highlighting the serious need for drivers to exercise caution and give extra space to snow removal equipment.
Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said, “Travelers should recognize that road conditions behind a plow are far better than conditions in front of it and they should avoid speeding up and passing snowplows and creating an unsafe situation for everyone on the roadway.”
State Police Colonel Richard McKeon said, “The law requires you to drive at a speed that is reasonable given the conditions around you, and State troopers have discretion to determine if you are going at a speed greater than reasonable giving the weather and other conditions.”
This year alone eight snowplows were struck by other vehicles. This is a warning for drivers that follow too closely behind a plow that fully loaded could weigh roughly 20 times more than the average passenger vehicle, according to MassDOT.
MassDOT will be displaying informational messages as part of its “Don’t Crowd the Plow” campaign on 80 of its VMS messaging boards along highways throughout the state. A graphic of this message will also be displayed on over 60 billboards across the Commonwealth.
Drivers are also encouraged to lower their speeds during inclement weather and use the appropriate resources to make an informed decision regarding their travel plans. MassDOT strongly urges drivers to always wear their seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cell phones and devote their full attention to what is ahead on the road.