Alberta’s snowplow operators are calling for drivers not to pass them after a driver’s death near Bonnyville this week.
“Drivers need to recognize the potentially devastating consequences of an impulse decision to pass or tailgate a snowplow. They put their own lives at risk and the safety of other drivers and snowplow operators,” said Jim Rivait, CEO of the Alberta Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association in a release. The ARHCA’s 1,000 members include contractors responsible for maintenance of Alberta’s highways.
A driver passed away on highway 660 north of the town on Monday when he tried to overtake a snowplow and hit another truck head-on. That’s hardly been the only reported incident in the province though.
• A driver caused a head – on crash near Foremost by passing a highway plow on Wednesday. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.
• In Central Alberta on Monday, two snowplows were rear – ended and one side – swiped, all within a three – hour span.
• A pickup truck also crashed into the back of a plow on Highway 16 near Entwistle on Saturday. The pickup was totaled and the snow plow driver suffered minor injuries.
• Earlier this winter, a plow operator was forced off the road while acting to prevent a head – on crash when a driver passed the plow going uphill and approaching a blind corner.
2017 has already been a prolific year for incidents such as these. 23 collisions with snow plows have been reported already. For comparison, there were 21 for all of 2016 and 25 for 2015.
“Operating a snowplow under extreme weather conditions is very challenging even without the hazard from impatient drivers who gamble that nobody is coming the other way when they pull out to pass,” said Rivait.
There’s no need to worry you’ll be stuck behind one your whole trip either. Drivers will pull over every five to eight kilometres to allow the cars behind them to pass.
“Just wait a few minutes; maybe tune into some good music on your local country music station and just relax and you’ll get by the plow,” says spokesperson for the ARHCA Paul Cashman. “Our operators are really just making sure everybody can get to where they need to safely, and that includes themselves.”