SWEETWATER, Wyo. — A Wyoming Department of Transportation plow truck was hit by a tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 80 east of Rock Springs near milepost 148 this morning around 9 a.m. The collision flipped the plow truck on its side and did heavy damage to the tractor-trailer.
According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, WYDOT plow driver Jake Webber was traveling eastbound in the righthand lane, plowing the lane and shoulder, traveling at roughly 35 mph. A Blue Line tractor-trailer driven by Angel Hernandez, also eastbound, came up on the plow truck in the righthand lane.
Hernandez failed to move over, rear-ending the plow truck. The plow truck was sent off the right side of the road and turned over. Webber was wearing his seat belt. The tractor-trailer truck then jack-knifed from the impact and went off the road. Both trucks came to rest on the right side of the road.
Hernandez did not report any injuries at the scene. Webber was transported to Sweetwater Memorial Hospital for undetermined, but not life-threatening injuries.
“We are asking the public to remember to slow down and adjust your driving to current road and weather conditions. These plow drivers are our friends, neighbors and family members. We all want them to come home safely every night,” WYDOT District Maintenance Engineer Tory Thomas said.
Thomas would like to remind drivers that we all should remember that it takes extra time to slow down or stop on slick roads, don’t use your cruise control and drive appropriate speeds.
WYDOT has numerous bright yellow snowplows, and when working the roads, these plow trucks have amber, red and blue flashing lights mounted on top of the cab and on the back of the sanders. Snowplows are huge machines, capable of moving tons of snow every minute. Operators of these snowplows are highly trained professionals, but still need room to operate.
“Stay well back from operating snowplows,” Thomas added. “They are spreading sand, anti-icing and de-icing chemicals on the roadway. It’s always a good idea to stay back from snowplows while their operators are doing their jobs.”
With limited visibility, snowplow drivers can’t see vehicles behind them if the vehicles are too close to the plows.
“Remember, the safest driving surface is behind the plow. If you must pass, don’t pass on the right into the plume of snow being moved,” Thomas said. “Be sure on two-lane highways that you have plenty of time to pass. Keep a close watch, as these huge plows often stir up their own whiteout conditions while doing their work.”
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