Car crashes involving snow plows increase this season

There have been at least three incidents of cars running into snow plows so far



Drivers can be proactive by driving slowly, using snow chains or tires and choosing not to drive if the weather makes roads too dangerous. 

CHLOE EKSTROM, Evergreen reporter

There have been three incidents this season where cars crashed into snow plows, more than the average of following years. With icy roads this winter, the WSU Police Department advises student drivers to be prepared with chains and traction shoes.

Typically, car crashes involving snow plows average between about five and eight a year, said Ryan Overton, communications manager for the eastern region of Washington State Department of Transportation. He finds it unfortunate that for this time of year they are well ahead of their average. 

“It gives us some cause for caution because we are a bit nervous that there will likely be more snow plow accidents in the future,” Overton said. 

Two crashes occurred Sunday, he said. 

“One was a drunk driver,” he said. “It was on I-90. The driver lost control and our snowplow saw the vehicle spinning out but wasn’t able to avoid being hit. It ended up rupturing the fuel tank of the vehicle and damaging the plow.” 

Another accident occurred when a vehicle ran into the back of a snowplow on State Route 28. Overton said the snowplow was making a left-hand turn and was coming to a stop, but the other vehicle was not paying attention. 

When the snow starts, crews are out on the roads day and night plowing and treating roadways. Overton said WSDOT has maintenance sheds all over Washington roadways.

“Having chains in your car, following the traction requirements that are set by our mountain passes and then having extra food and all those things are really important to keep with you this time of year,” the representative said. 

“Keep checking the weather, and if you’re unsure, don’t go,” said a representative from WSU PD. 

To ensure the safety of student drivers over the next couple of weeks, the WSU PD partnered with Washington State Patrol and WSDOT to promote safe driving through the use of portable message boards, Overton said. 

“For some, it can be an extremely long drive,” Overton said. “The quirky, fun messages are meant to remind student drivers to put their phone down or pay attention to the road.” 

The Be Safe Cougs message boards will be up this year on roads frequently used by WSU students, he said. 

“I do know that since we’ve been doing this Be Safe Cougs program the number of accidents has drastically declined,” Overton said. 

Jessica Dickinson, freshman business major, has grown fond of these message boards and looks forward to seeing them on her trips to and from Pullman. 

“I love them. They remind me to put my phone down even if I’m just changing the song I’m listening to or checking the time,” Dickinson said.