Montana Department of Transportation

Tow Plows

One driver, twice as much snow!

A tow plow is a steerable trailer-mounted plow that is pulled behind a snowplow truck, just like the name indicates. The tow plow can be rotated to one side of the truck, which doubles the plow width of a tandem-axle snowplow truck. The 26-foot-wide plow gives the operator the ability to move snow efficiently and safely from two lanes of roadway in one pass.

The tow plows are equipped with either a granular spreader or a tank for dispensing liquids for snow and ice control. Tow plows have been used successfully in other states for several years, but many Montana drivers have never seen one in action.

In the News

Articles and videos from local newstations:

Tow Plow Slideshow

whole plow truck and snow plow Controls inside the plow truck View from back of tow-plow Tow-plow swung out sideview of tow-plow closeup sideview of tow-plow closeup of the tow plow plow Closeup view from back of tow plow swung out to side back of tow plow back of tow plow

Tow Plow Knowhow

See a tow plow ahead? Here's what to do:

  • Slow down and stay behind the snowplow. Allow at least five car lengths between the vehicle and the snowplow.
  • Periodically, the plow operator will pull to the side of the road, retract the plow wing, or rotate the tow plow out of the way and allow vehicles to pass. Just remember, the road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive.
  • Be particularly aware of icy conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps.
  • Turn on headlights and turn off cruise control settings.

Tow Plow Benefits

One driver, twice as much snow! Clearing double the lanes with half the resources is increasingly important as Montana’s highway system expands.

  • Increased efficiency
  • Doing more with less - With one driver clearing twice as much road, there is a reduction in manpower and equipment.
  • Safety improvements due to improved snow-removal times
  • Environmental and financial benefits from using less fuel

Currently there are tow plows operating in the Helena, Butte, Bozeman, Billings, Miles City, Missoula, Kalispell and Great Falls areas.

Snowplow pulling a tow-plow