Drivers aren't giving snowplows the room to work

Sgt. Shan Barrick with the South Dakota Highway Patrol said getting into an accident with a snow plow can be fatal.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - In the last three weeks, the South Dakota Highway Patrol said they've seen a significant amount of accidents involving drivers running into snow plows across the state.

Road conditions are typically safer behind plows, although Sgt. Shan Barrick said drivers assume they are better in front.

He said reasons drivers get into these accidents include: people running late, not being patient, and trying to pass the plows.

Barrick said getting into an accident with a snow plow can be fatal.

"The snow plow is a solid piece of structure, so depending on how fast you're going and depending on the road conditions and how you slide or hit the plow could definitely be life threatening. One: if you're not wearing your seat belt, and two: just the impact itself could be life threatening just because you don't know what the road conditions are or the weather conditions, and just the impact of hitting the plow and how you react inside the vehicle," said Barrick.

Barrick said for the past few years, the Department of Transportation has been using tow plows which takes up both lanes on the interstate, allowing for plows to clear roads faster.

He said in the last two weeks, two snow plows were hit by vehicles in the northern Black Hills... reminding people to drive safe during the winter season and to be patient for the snow plows.