CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is urging motorists to use caution when driving around snowplows this winter season, as three plows were recently involved in wrecks in quick succession.
“We have already seen three snowplows hit in four days, a concerning trend as the winter season is just getting started,” said Tim Morton, maintenance engineer for District 1, which covers southeast Wyoming.
The plow strikes all took place in District 1, occurring on Interstate 80 near mile marker 274 on Nov. 20, on I-80 near mile marker 386 Nov. 24 and on Interstate 25 near mile marker 23 Nov. 24.
According to WYDOT, no injuries were reported in any of the crashes. However, two of the crashes resulted in damaged plows.
“Plows that are damaged are in the shop rather than out on the highway clearing ice and snow,” Morton said.
In winters spanning 2014–19, the agency averaged about eight plow hits per season. However, in recent winters the number of strikes has spiked.
The department saw 25 plows hit last winter, 18 in winter 2021–22, a record-breaking 26 in winter 2020–21 and 23 in winter 2019–20.
Motorists are encouraged to give plows plenty of room to work. The road behind an active plow is freshly salted, sanded and plowed, which makes it safer. However, plows have to move slowly in order to be effective, which often means drivers will want to pass a plow.
“Snowplows create their own snow clouds, which can make visibility challenging,” Morton said. “Always wait until visibility is clear enough that you can safely maneuver to pass around the plow, especially if the wing plow is out.”
Morton said drivers are encouraged to drive according to conditions and to avoid driving distracted or impaired.
“We want everyone to get home safely,” Morton added.