Iowa DOT: More crashes involving snow plows this year - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa DOT: More crashes involving snow plows this year

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

Plow drivers will be out for the next couple of days clearing streets and highways.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is renewing its call for safety following more than a dozen crashes involving plows.

Just in DOT District 2, which covers Black Hawk County and every county along and north of Highway 3 in northeast Iowa, there have been 14 accidents involving plows.

The average is three.

The work to clear snow and ice from Iowa's highways seems to be never-ending this year.

But the combination of snow, ice, and below normal temperatures may be combining to make it more dangerous to be a plow driver.

"One thing we're looking at is that it's so cold. We get this light, fluffy snow so it kicks up a snow cloud. As I tell the groups I speak to, if you see a snow cloud, there's probably something causing it so slow down," said Pete Hjelmstad, DOT Field Services Coordinator.

Hjelmstad says the danger isn't just during the storm but even on clear days as well.

"You may have a day where it's sunny out but there are 20-25 mph winds and blowing and the snow starts sticking to the roads. You might not expect to see plows out because it's not snowing but they're out tracking the roads," said Hjelmstad.

The DOT wants drivers to know to take it slow.

"Usually, if a plow is on the road, it's not ideal conditions so the stopping rate is going to be greater as well so you need to give yourself room," said Hjelmstad.

In the 19 county district, there are 150 plows.

The DOT says if a plow is damaged, it means it may take longer to get the roads cleared because that's just one more plow not able to work.

Other tips to avoid a crash with a plow?

Give yourself plenty of clearance when passing them, you can still clip the blade.

Also, give a plow extra room because there may be a stalled car or abandoned car in their line of sight which you won't be able to see.

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