By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – In one week in February, three Colorado Department of Transportation snowplows were rear-ended with, one driver speeding at 75 mph. That’s why the Colorado Department of Transportation is issuing a warning for drivers to “bow to the plow.”

(credit: CBS)

“We’re just trying to make the road conditions good so you can get home to your families and we can get home to ours,” said Alex Bucher, CDOT maintenance supervisor and snowplow driver.

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Too often on the roads, drivers are not giving plow drivers like Bucher enough space; that is about 3 or 4 car lengths back.

“When it’s snowing out, and all the lights are on, the drivers have a very hard time seeing vehicles come up behind them,” Bucher explained.

He told CBS4 that almost every time he gets behind the wheel, someone tries to pass the tandem formation. Bucher said one of the reasons that’s a terrible idea is that many motorists can’t see the wing blade on the side which is deployed to push away snow.

Accidents can also happen even when some drivers try to do everything recommended.

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(credit: William Holt)

“And I was going around a right-hand bend and the back end of my truck slid out, so I lost control on a two-lane highway and the snowplow was coming around the bend and ran into the side of my truck,” William Holt said.

Holt was coming home from a backcountry lesson near Cameron Pass.

“I was going 20 miles under the speed limit, I had 4 wheel drive on in my Tacoma, being really careful, and accidents still happen,” he recalled.

When snowplows have their blades down, the top speed many drive at is 35 mph, which causes many other motorists to crowd them.

“Just be patient, our plows will be turning up the road maybe 2 to 3 miles and it’ll release traffic and get you where you’re going,” Bucher added.

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(credit: CBS)

Another reason to low down? Since 2019 in Colorado, anyone caught passing a snowplow is subject to a Class A traffic offense. That can come with up to a $100 fine, and points on a person’s driving record.

Jacqueline Quynh