Unsuspecting drivers hit with wall of snow and slush during morning commute

Posted at 10:00 PM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 22:01:15-05

They hit the roads to help make our drive safer when the snow flies, but one ODOT plow-truck traveling on a busy interstate today briefly put some Cleveland-area drivers at greater risk.

Those pesky persistent snow squalls Mark Johnson loves to talk about greatly reduced visibilities Friday morning. And for some drivers, a snow plow trying to clear I-71 made matters worse.

Exclusive video obtained by News 5 shows the plow in question.

It shows the plow heading south on I-71 near 150th. You can see it pushing the snow and slush toward the median.

The wintry mix is moving with such force it actually travels high above the concrete divider and hits cars traveling unsuspected drivers northbound on I-71.

When you take a closer look you can see it hit a car in the left lane. The snow on its roof goes flying off and the driver throws on the wipers.

News 5 took our concerns about drivers losing crucial visibility during poor conditions to ODOT. A spokesperson explains how this might have happened.

"They really get in the zone when they get in their snowplow trucks and sometimes they are so laser-focused that maybe they miss where the snow is flying while they're driving, so we have had calls in the past about snow flying over the median walls," said Amanda McFarland, ODOT Spokesperson.

ODOT tells News 5 that their drivers are instructed to slow down while plowing so close to oncoming traffic so something like this doesn't happen.

"We don't want them to throw the snow over the wall into oncoming traffic and quickly reduce their visibility," said McFarland.

Managers who oversee the plows on I-71 are trying to track down the driver in question. Meantime, they're reminding all plow truck operators about the importance of being safe behind the wheel.