KDOT road crews: 'Look out for us too'

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Crews worked early Tuesday morning to clear a deadly crash that killed 51-year-old Dana Thowe and closed a portion of I-70 Eastbound for several hours.

Officials say Thowe was driving too fast for road conditions, and ran into the back of a Kansas Department of Transportation snowplow truck clearing the roads. The snowplow truck driver, 39-year-old Caleb Wasson, of Topeka, suffered minor injuries.

KDOT says drivers commonly speed behind, or drive around snowplow trucks that are working to make the roads safer during winter weather.

"These trucks are going 20-25 miles an hour, they may be in the fast lane but they can't go fast, " KDOT Supervisor David Studebaker said. "It's not gonna be flip a switch and have the roads back to normal it does take a little time."

Drivers also return to normal speed once they believe the roads are clear, but are unaware of dangerous road conditions that are not as visible.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says drivers should ask themselves two questions before getting behind the wheel: 'Do I have to drive, and am I prepared to drive?'

Once drivers do that, KHP trooper Steve LaRow says, you have to be prepared to make a split second decision to avoid an accident.

"Some of those basic driving skills will come into play...things such as steering into the slide," he said. "Steer away from the slide don't turn your car around, but if you feel the back of your car sliding out steer into the slide."

And just as KDOT crews work to make roads safer for drivers, those behind the wheel should look out for them too.

"If you see orange lights, f you see a big orange truck, pass carefully don't crowd behind them..and just let them do their job," Studebaker said.