Kansas Department of Transportation plow drivers have their hands full during winter storms. They remove snow while driving defensively around other vehicles on the road.
"They try to pass you on the left and right. You have somebody behind you, somebody else coming up, and they'll just swing out. We've had people slide off in front of us," said a plow driver.
That's how some end up in a ditch, flipped, or heavily damaged. It happened to Jerry Lowry's plow during the Kansas snow storm in February. "I was plowing snow eastbound on I-70 in the outside lane, had my wing plow out trying to clean the centerline off," said Lowry. "I had a semi come around me on the right, ran over my wing plow, took me over and slammed me into the wall."
The wreck shut down I-70 for hours and kept the driver from plowing snow packed roads.
With another winter storm approaching, KDOT has a plea for those who venture out onto the roads. "Go slow, stay behind us. If you do pass us, make sure we do see you. Give us plenty of room to work."
KDOT leaders say you should be aware that some of the trucks have side plows you may not see in the snow. They say it may appear you can safely pass them when you really cannot.
According to KDOT, most plows drive fixed routes so if you are behind one they ask for patience. They say the plow driver will eventually turn around.
They hope to keep all plows in service, clearing roads and making a safer drive for everyone. "I have children at home and I have grandchildren and I want to go home every night to see them along with everybody else in the shop."