The accident happened near Sturgis. The pickup was trying to pass a semi, but didn't see the snowplow in the passing lane. After colliding with the plow, the pickup veered back into the driving lane and was hit from behind by the semi.
"The pickup driver ended up going to the hospital with leg injuries. This could easily have been a much more serious accident," says Darin Bergquist, SDDOT's director of operations. "For the safety of our drivers and the safety of the public, please give snowplows plenty of room to operate."
Bergquist says plows travel at about 25 mph and asks drivers to be patient if they find themselves behind one. "The plows are providing an important public service and are clearing the roads as quickly as possible." He says drivers should keep some other snowplow safety tips in mind:
? Snowplow drivers need to concentrate on their task and the road conditions in front of them so they may not spot a vehicle trying to pass. Be alert to the reduced visibility caused by blowing snow around the trucks and don't pass unless you can be sure the oncoming roadway is clear of vehicles and drifts.
? Plows spread sand and/or chlorides on the road. Leave enough room between you and the snowplow to avoid being peppered with grit or having your car splashed with chlorides.
? Remember the road in front of the plow is usually in worse condition than the road behind the plow.
? Slippery spots might remain on the highway even after crews have sanded them. Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses.
Bergquist says snowplow operators are doing their best to keep the highways safe, but drivers need to do their part by slowing down and driving defensively. He also reminds drivers to dial 511 before they drive or check conditions online at sddot.com or safetravelusa. com.