While the West has endured record heat and spring is working it's way across the South, there's still a winter weather window for much of the U.S. So our Dash Cams of the Week feature several poor decisions related to icy road conditions from which lessons should be drawn.
First up: Four-wheeled reckless driving on the highways around heavy trucks happens all the time — just not usually weaving around and cutting off plow trucks in a snowstorm. But that's what a Colorado Dept. of Transportation (DOT) dash cam captured as DOT vehicles were trying to clear the roads last week.
"This could have ended very badly," the DOT wrote in posting the video to its Facebook page. "Today, this driver put himself and our plow drivers at risk — and obviously never heard our plea to 'bow to the plow.' Law enforcement would have likely cited him for numerous offenses. Please be patient as we work to clear the roads from this latest storm."
It seems the driver also doesn't have the good sense to realize that the safest place to drive in a snowstorm is behind the plow truck. Interestingly, the video posting garnered a lot of comments and spurred a discussion of whether the plow trucks shouldn't be traveling in such a tight formation on the road, as can be seen in the footage.
In response, the department noted there are "multiple reasons" its snow plow crews synch it up and move together.
"Here are a few to think about. It reduces distractions of small vehicles weaving through the trucks; each [plow truck] driver is juggling plow controls, product controls, radio transmissions, multiple blind spots and watching each other's progress," the department wrote. "There are so many blind spots with plow attachments, snow buildup on the windows and adverse weather conditions."
Also, when the plows go through, it creates "a mound of snow and can cause traction problems when vehicles try to pass through it," the department added.
In short, it's dangerous — and the plows move together because they don't want passenger cars trying to cut through past them. "We are not trying to make it hard on the public. Our mission is the exact opposite: Keeping everyone behind [our trucks] controls the situational awareness of each driver," the DOT stated in its posting.
Lesson No. 2
The Montana Highway Patrol posted this terrifying video late last fall to remind drivers of the dangers of winter road conditions.
""We have made the decision to release the following video in the hopes that it will encourage all drivers to exercise caution and lower their speeds especially during inclement weather," MHP says in the YouTube explanation.
And it's hard to watch.
The video features dash-cam footage showing a series of crashes that occurred during a blizzard on December 28th, 2014 near Missoula.
"Send medical quick!" the responding officer radios as the accidents come one after another and rushes to check on victims. Thankfully, everyone survived. The mother and her two children are on the road to recovery, according to the MSP post.
Black ice jackknife
Here a tanker driver likely got the sinking feeling as he crested a hill to discover traffic stopped at the bottom because of the black ice that he'd just driven onto. And this was one, long slow-motion, nothing-to-do-about-it skid.
This happened last month between Elko and Carlin, NV, on Interstate 80. The video is from a man who tried to record as he ran along the shoulder warnong oncoming vehicles about the problem ahead.
Finally, for a reminder that's rather serious but not quite so terrifying, we present this archive clip to remind truckers that they shouldn't get on the highway if they have an iceberg on the roof of their trailer.