5 plows struck during winter storm

JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- Five snow plows were struck by vehicles in Johnson County and Wyandotte County on Friday.

The Kansas Department of Transportation initially tweeted about three being struck on Friday, but on Saturday morning, indicated that at least two more were struck. 

They said that the plows were struck when people tried to pass them in lanes that had not been plowed yet. 

The drivers of the plows were not injured. One of the plow drivers was hit twice. 

“About two and a half hours later, he was northbound at Johnson Drive and he got hit again,” explained Drake Jennings, KDOT Highway Maintenance Superintendent. “That driver didn't stop. That driver kept right on going.”

All too often, drivers are trying to pass snow plows on slick streets.

Many times, they crash right into a wing plow, which is the plow on the side of KDOT vehicles. 

“They are trying to pass us,” Jennings said. “Every time you try to pass us it never turns out good.”

“I'm short staffed and I'm short on trucks, so I need every available truck that I have,” Jennings said. “So, when one of my trucks gets hit, it takes it out of service.”

In an additional tweet, KDOT explained that even when the Kansas Highway Patrol and local departments are using walk-in reporting about crashes due to weather, if you hit a state vehicle the police have to respond. 

"Here's why hitting a plow takes us out of commission awhile," they said. "If you hit a state vehicle, everyone has to sit and wait for a patrol to come out. We don't get to exchange info and drive off."

“The accidents today, those trucks they sat idle on the shoulder for 45 minutes to an hour,” Jennings said.

"It's time to practice breathing and relaxation skills everyone," KDOT said. "Plan for your drive home to take twice as long as usual."

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