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ID transportation officials urge drivers to be patients around snow plows

Courtesy of Idaho Department of Transportation

It’s been a rough month for Idaho state snow plow drivers.

“In the last two weeks alone, we’ve had four plows struck across the state, all from drivers trying to pass on the right," said Megan Jahns from the Idaho Transportation Department in Coeur d’Alene. “We’ve also had two instances where other drivers on the road lost control and were coming at our plows out of control and about to be in a head-on collision and our drivers drove off the road to avoid hitting them," she said.

Jahns says the four collisions means the agency is halfway to last year’s accident total for the entire winter season.

“I would say it’s becoming more and more of a trend. Last year we had one plow driver who was struck I think three times, at least three times by drivers who were tailgating him on the interstate. So I would say it’s becoming more and more common and we want to reverse that trend," she said.

In one case this week, a driver hit a plow on I-90 near Osburn and then took off. Jahns said if the plow driver had been hurt, the other driver could have faced felony hit-and-run charges.

This is not just an Idaho concern. Ryan Overton from the Washington Department of Transportation recently posted this video warning.

“A lot of our trucks also have on the side a wing plow. It’s a little bit more difficult to see as you’re driving, but that can extend down from the side of the plow and actually add a little bit more coverage to clear off the shoulder or part of an extra lane. So as you’re traveling around, be sure and give our crews plenty of space. They’re doing everything they can to keep the roads clear and safe for you as you’re traveling," he said.