There’s an essential rule about sharing the road with snowplows: NEVER pass them on the right.
In 2016, there were 11 collisions between cars and snowplows, on one BC highway alone. That’s a lot of crashes and a lot of stress, grief and costs for a lot of people! Check out the video above which highlights winter maintenance work on the Coquihalla Highway.
The reason why you don’t want to pass an operating plow on the right, is that’s right where the plow blade is. Motorists who drive along that side can be blinded by flying snow and other debris. Plows are often also equipped with extendable wings that might not be visible because of blowing snow.
Those who pass a plow on the right, put the occupants of their vehicle and the highway clearing vehicle in danger. Weaving between plows that are clearing the road is also an extremely bad move. (Watch the video, to find out what can happen!)
In addition, colliding with the snowplow – that’s there to clear the way – could impact everyone travelling the route. Plows are usually out in dangerous conditions and if other vehicles crash into them, this could take the plow out of commission.
Patience is the keyword around plows. Plow operators are working as quickly and safely as they can to get the road cleared, and they pull over when they are able, to let motorists pass.
Signs posted along the road (and sometimes on highway maintenance vehicles) remind drivers that passing the plow on the right is not permitted. Failing to follow that rule can result in a minimum fine of $96 for disobeying a traffic control device (the “don’t pass the snowplow on the right” sign) as well as penalties for careless or reckless driving.
So please be patient when sharing the road with snowplows and help highway workers get the job done. As Equipment Operator Michelle says, “We’re not here to get in your way. We all want to make it home to our families at the end of the day, too.”