Four snowplows hit by drivers, ITD officials say one snowplow is out of service because of it


SODA SPRINGS — Four Idaho Transportation Department snowplows have been hit by vehicles within the last few days, with three of the crashes happening near Soda Springs.

ITD spokesman Justin Smith told one incident happened on Monday, Nov. 28, another on Thursday, Dec. 1, and the last Soda Spring incident on Friday, Dec. 2. There was additionally another that happened in northern Idaho in Athol.

“The one yesterday (Dec. 1); the snowplow was taken completely out of service. It was a sideswipe with a semi. The plow has significant damage on the driver’s side. There were no injuries, thankfully,” Smith said.

There were no injuries in any of the other incidents. The plow from the Dec. 1 incident is currently being looked at in Pocatello to see if it can be fixed. Smith said the price to replace a plow can be around $300,000.

“Last season, we had 11 (plow strikes), and we are already at four, and we are just starting the season. Last year, 10 out of the 11 were people passing plows,” Smith said.

He explained that snowplows are plowing for a reason and the safest place to be is behind a plow because they are clearing the roads for drivers.

“Passing a plow on the right is never advised because often we have a wing plow that descends off the right side and that pushes snow out to the right of the plow, and people often don’t see the wing plow because of the powder coming off from the front blade,” Smith said.

It’s a great reminder to be careful while driving.

“Never pass on the right, slow down, give plows room. The goal is not to be the first to pass the plow, the goal is to get home safe, and that’s what we want for everybody,” Smith said. “East Idaho, with the heavy snow and the winds, the traffic can become really treacherous, and the roads can become really dangerous. We do everything we can to keep the roads open, and we do everything we can to keep the roads safe.”

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