A Vancouver Island road maintenance company is reminding motorists to approach snowplows with caution and to never pass on the right of a working plow after a truck was recorded weaving in between snow removal vehicles earlier this week.
While clearing Highway 19 south of Campbell River Monday afternoon, crews witnessed a pickup truck approach two snowplows working in tandem at a high rate of speed. The pickup then passed the lead plow placing it between the two plows.
"He passed the lead plow truck which had its wing plow down and was weaving between the plow trucks," said Mainroad North Island Contracting road manager Damian Girard. "He would have had to drive through the wind row and the discharge of the snow plow."
There was moderate to heavy snow falling at the time of the incident and visibility was low. The plows were moving significant accumulations from off of the highway and were throwing quite a bit of snow, says Girard.
He adds that the driver would have had difficulty driving through the snow left by the plow and would have had difficulty seeing through the blowing snow from the snow clearing blade.
"I'm surprised he didn't go off the road or cause an accident, it was moderate to high scary," said Girard. "He was driving fast and given the road conditions – even if the plows weren't there he should be slowing down and driving to road conditions."
Girard was able to capture photos of the incident as it unfolded before him. He also tried to make note of the license plate number to report the driver to police.
Mainroad reports incidents of motorists passing road crews unsafely, which the company says happens regularly during snowfall events.
Drivers are reminded to remain 10 car lengths behind a working plow and that it is never safe to pass one on its right-hand side.
"It is too bad some people choose to make such bad decisions," said Girard. "Please give our guys room and never weave through our plow trucks when we are out trying to remove snow in heavy snow events, it is unsafe and unnecessary."
Working snow plows will pull over at intersections when safe to do so and will give drivers who are travelling behind them an opportunity to pass.
Girard notes that driving between working plows inhibits the ability to safely clear snow from highways and could potentially cause a serious incident or crash.
"It's concerning because it is a major hazard to our plow truck drivers and the driver," he said.