On January 31st, 2017 at approximately 12:34pm Troopers from the Pendleton Area Command responded to a motor vehicle crash on Interstate 84 eastbound near milepost 225.
Investigation revealed an Oregon Department of Transportation snow plow operated by RYAN MCLAUGHLIN, age 35, of Pendleton Oregon was traveling eastbound in the fast lane ,in the act of plowing, when a 1999 Freightliner-commercial motor vehicle operated by BRYON KILMER, age 38, of Sweet Home Oregon attempted to pass the snow plow on the right.
While attempting to pass, the commercial motor vehicle struck the snow plow on the passenger side plow wing causing the snow plow to enter the center median and roll onto its side. Both involved vehicles suffered damage and had to be towed from the scene. No injuries were reported in the crash.
The operator of the commercial motor vehicle was cited for Unsafe Passing on the Right. The Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation remind drivers that it is unlawful to pass snowplows on the right while they are in the act of plowing.
Below are tips from the Oregon Department of Transportation on actions drivers should take when they encounter snow plows during winter driving conditions.
Keep a safe distance from plows and sanders
It’s illegal to pass a snowplow on the right on state highways. On most Oregon highways, snowplows have “wing” plows that stick out more than eight feet from the right front edge of the truck. The snow being plowed or blown off the road can contain rocks and other debris that can damage vehicles.
Drivers who try to pass on the right when a snowplow is in operation run the risk of damaging their vehicles, hitting the snowplow or running off the road and into a snow bank or guardrail.
Trying to pass a plow on the left also has its problems. The road behind the snowplow is in much better condition than the road ahead. If conditions are severe enough to require the attention of a snowplow, drivers should use extra care when trying to accelerate and pass other vehicles. Ruts in the snow can grab tires; icy conditions make it difficult to control any vehicle at higher speeds.
Drivers should give winter maintenance vehicles such as plows and sanders a wide berth. They do not travel at high speeds and other vehicles quickly overtake them. Plows and sanding trucks pull over periodically to let traffic pass. The best advice is to stay at least three car lengths behind and give yourself more time to get where you are going.