State officials have launched a new campaign intended to remind motorists that snow plows should be given plenty of room to do their job. In making the announcement, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation noted that through late December at least eight pieces of heavy snow removal equipment had already been struck by other vehicles (not the other way around). Messages in the “Don’t Crowd the Plow” effort went up on close to 150 billboards and electronic signs across the Commonwealth.
Plows are there to do an important job. Getting the snow off the road makes driving safer for everyone. But until that snow has been cleared, the roads can be very dangerous. Plows can’t move at highway speeds, and drivers seem to forget that the posted speed limit applies to clear-and-dry conditions.
Driving conditions are always better behind the plow, but some drivers insist on trying to pass and get ahead of them, and that’s how collisions with plows often happen. Drivers don’t give plows enough room, don’t pass safely, or simply don’t have enough control when they move from the plowed pavement to a part of the road that hasn’t been cleared.
Cars will always come out on the losing end in crashes with plows, which often weigh up to twenty times as much as a passenger vehicle. Saving a few minutes—or even just a few seconds—of travel time is not worth the risk of a wreck, let alone the injury potential of a serious crash.
State and local snow removal teams aren’t the only ones with a responsibility for road safety. Individual drivers have a duty, as well. Too many motorists fail to clear ice and snow off of their vehicles before hitting the streets.
This is more than an annoyance to those around them, it’s unsafe. Two years ago, two people were injured when snow flung from a car smashed the windshield of another vehicle and caused a crash. Last winter, a state police cruiser received a broken windshield after snow and ice flew from an uncleared SUV.
In Massachusetts, police can stop drivers and write them a $35 ticket for impeded operation if they haven’t cleared snow from their vehicles. That’s better than the alternative—a $200 fine for operating with an unsecured load—when the snow is heavy enough to be a danger or actually causes an accident. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the charges that can follow when that snow causes a serious crash that injures or kills someone.
New Englanders understand winter driving better than most. Driving in poor weather conditions is hazardous enough without adding to the danger by failing to clear snow from a vehicle or by recklessly passing plows while they’re working. But not everyone operates safely at all times. If you find yourself the victim of a crash caused by the unsafe actions of another driver, you need someone on your side who will fight to get you the justice and compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Joel H. Schwartz, PC has years of experience practicing automobile accident law, and we’re ready to put it to work for you. Call us today at 1-800-660-2270 or contact us online through the form below to arrange a free consultation to discuss your case.