ADOT: 2 snowplows damaged in crashes during recent storms

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Two ADOT workers were injured on Jan. 21 when a semi almmed into a snowplow on I-40 near Seligman. (Source: ADOT) Two ADOT workers were injured on Jan. 21 when a semi almmed into a snowplow on I-40 near Seligman. (Source: ADOT)
Two ADOT workers were injured on Jan. 21 when a semi almmed into a snowplow on I-40 near Seligman. (Source: ADOT) Two ADOT workers were injured on Jan. 21 when a semi almmed into a snowplow on I-40 near Seligman. (Source: ADOT)
A Jan. 19 crash involved an SUV and snowplow clearing State Route 89A between Prescott Valley and Jerome. (Source: ADOT) A Jan. 19 crash involved an SUV and snowplow clearing State Route 89A between Prescott Valley and Jerome. (Source: ADOT)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Never assume a snowplow driver in the high country can see you.

That message from the Arizona Department of Public Safety comes in the wake of recent storms that saw several accidents involving snowplows.

On Jan. 19, everyone escaped injury after an SUV struck a snowplow clearing State Route 89A between Prescott Valley and Jerome.  

A few days later, on Jan. 21, two ADOT workers were injured after a semitractor-trailer rear-ended and severely damaged their vehicle on Interstate 30 near Seligman.

The accident thwarted efforts to clear snow and ice along the route.

"During storms, drivers need to slow down and give plows plenty of space," said Alvin Stump, district engineer in ADOT's Northwest District, where both of the incidents occurred. "Plows require a large work area to remove snow."

Gabriel Alvarado, of ADOT’s Seligman operation, has plowed I-40 for 13 years. He said he likes seeing a line of vehicles making a sensible decision to follow his snowplow.

"It's the best possible scenario to have a plow right in front of you," he said.

But several times during a 12-hour shift, a passenger vehicle or semi will decide to pass Alvarado's snowplow in an unplowed lane, raising the potential for a collision.

"Sometimes it gets really, really close," Alvarado said.

Alvarado said it isn't uncommon for him to later come upon those who've passed him stuck in the snow after sliding off the roadway.

ADOT passes along these tips next time a snowstorm hits northern Arizona:

Stay at least four car lengths behind a snowplow.

Never pass a working plow until the operator pulls over to let traffic by.

Never assume a snowplow operator knows you are nearby. If you can't see the plow driver, there is a good chance the driver can't see you.

Plowed snow can create a cloud that reduces visibility and spreaders on trucks throw de-icing agents or sand that can damage vehicles, so stay back.

Leave space when stopping behind a snowplow. The driver might need to back up.

If approaching an oncoming snowplow, slow down and give the plow extra room.

Just because a plow has been through the area, drivers shouldn't assume the roadway is completely clear of snow and ice.

For more tips on snowplow safety and other winter-driving essentials, visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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