Police: Trucker from Sweet Home knocked ODOT snow plow off the road

PENDLETON, Ore. - A trucker from Sweet Home attempted to pass an Oregon DOT snow plow on the right on Interstate 84 Tuesday, knocking the plow off the road, Oregon State Police said.

No one reported any physical injuries from the crash, state police said.

Troopers cited Bryon Kilmer, 38, of Sweet Home for Unsafe Passing on the Right.

The investigation found that Kilmer was driving a 1999 Freightliner when he attempted to pass the plow around 12:34 p.m. January 31, 2017.

The big rig hit the plow on the passenger side, sending the plow into the center median, police said. The plow overturned onto its side.

The impact damaged both vehicles, police said.

In Utah last month, a truck passed a snow plow on the right and clipped the plow, sending the plow careening off a cliff.

The crash sent the veteran plow driver to the hospital.

The West has been beset by an exceptionally brutal winter, triggering buildings to collapse in eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho.

There is more snow and ice in the forecast.

State police and ODOT offered these tips about snow plows in Oregon

  • 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.
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