Snow plows are hard to miss during a snow storm. They’re out working to clean up our roadways, but are often in dangerous situations.
11 News rode along as crews cleaned up residential areas in northern El Paso County. We were in the passenger seat when an SUV sped around the plow on a two lane road.
Snow plow drivers told us, the biggest problem they come across is drivers going too fast for the conditions. They're asking for just a little patience and space to keep the roads safer for all of us.
We watched the SUV driver into the on-coming traffic lane to speed around the snow plow.
"Does that happen often, cars passing you? Yes, oh yeah it happens all the time," El Paso County Snow Plow driver Mike Smith said.
During and after snow storms, Smith plows the roads in El Paso County from dawn till dusk. He said, too often, it's an impatient move like that one- that can cause an accident.
"There's nothing that should be that big of a hurry that would cost you your life," Smith said.
We also talked to drivers who said, they do actually take more precautions when they see plows on the road.
"I try to stop and pull over, it's a hazard," one Springs driver said.
"I drive a little more cautious," another added.
Smith said that during a big storm, they hit the main roads first. Followed by roads needed to get to schools and hospitals, before clearing the neighborhood streets.
It's a lot of work, but it’s work he doesn't mind doing.
“You just feel like you're accomplishing something. That you're trying to make the road safe, not only for you but for the public as well,” Smith said.
If your car is ever stranded, the county asks that you tow it immediately. If it's left and obstructs the snow removal, they are allowed to have it towed at your expense.
Colorado Department of Transportation says when you're on the interstate they recommend you stay at least 150 feet behind a snowplow, that’s half a football field.