To no one’s surprise, more snow is on the way for Berkshire County.  That means plows will be on the roads and highways.  And despite quite a few years (decades) of driving, I’ve always been unsure of something:

Is it legal, or illegal, to pass snow-plows in Massachusetts?

Normally, I wouldn’t think to pass a plow.  They’re like your lead blocker in a snow storm, clearing the snow, sanding the road so you can get home safely.  I’d rather spend a little extra time behind a plow and make it home than skid off the road.

However, there are some instances where I’m like, “Can I pass?  Should I pass?”  For example, let’s say you’re traveling Route 8 from Pittsfield to Adams.  It’s basically a one lane highway on both sides except for a few small areas.  And let’s say the roads are in decent shape, but you get behind a plow who is sanding and doing some tidying up.  There’s a line of cars behind you, and you’re starting to sweat.  Do you need to stay behind the plow?  Or, for arguments sake, let’s say you’re in a two-lane highway, and you get behind a plow…can you pass in the other lane?

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Well, this is taken directly from

“There are no state laws that prohibit you from passing a snowplow.”

Ok, that clears that up.  It’s not illegal, so you can pass.

However…should you pass?  According to the Mass DOT, it can be extremely dangerous.

Keep in mind that plow blades can extend well beyond the width of the vehicle, sometimes by upwards of 10 feet.  And, if you’re in a snowstorm, there’s a good chance you won’t see the extended length due to the snow being kicked up.  So, even on a two-lane highway, you have to use extreme caution.  And if the roads look ok, remember, the plows are still out for a could be icy, and more slippery than it looks.

I know it can be frustrating sitting in a line of cars going 30 mph behind a plow when it looks like you can pass, but please always remember all the other drivers want to get home safely also.  Try to avoid passing...even if it is legal to do so.


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